Visual Style

Defining and refining the Game’s Style through Research:

In order to direct my research I brainstormed a small list of themes, ideas and colours that I want present in the games visual style:

  • Dark
  • Bold
  • Etherial
  • Medieval
  • Classical
  • Mythology (Nordic, Greek, Egyptian imagery)
  • Pagan (human-animal-nature hybrids, relatable imagery)
  • Christian Art (halos, narrative composition, gold tones)
  • Bold lineart (Art nouveau,
  • Flowers
  • Patterns
  • Moon & Sun iconography (relates back to mythology and religion)

I want the cards and other items in the game to follow a highly illustrative, mythological style that emphasises the significance of story in its’ composition and tone.

My efforts into visual research begin in a simple place through the exploration of potential colour palettes.  Most of my searches have been driven by an idea, one that I see clearly in my ‘minds eye’ – something, however, that I am struggling to put into words or images. So far I know that I want a dark and bold colour palette – this I believe is due to the many classical art and religious paintings that inspire my current style.

I want to continue this theme as a focus for my research as I believe it gives a vibrant and authentic look – relating to my visual research based on their use of colour. Keeping an already established style going in my project will make my product more recognisable as something with purposeful religious and mythological undertones.

I’ve conducted the majority of my visual research on Pinterest due to the ability to search and see images from all over the web, here is a link to my boards – these show an extended view of my research so far: (Click to view).

Colour Palettes:

★ Разрешение файла: 1266×3382 px. Информация о картине, описание, где находится, другие картины художника. Альбом: Джон Уильям Уотерхаус, #23/121.

(Pinterest, n/a)

Looking at imagery like the painting above can provide an insight into potential colours and ideas for palettes. These palettes will be used to create consistency within the style surrounding the cards and the other branding; the colour choices make an enormous impact on how consumers view the brand therefore it will need to be considered with great care (Peate, 2018). Furthermore consistency in themes, styles and symbols will create greater visibility by establishing solid and recognisable brand themes to players. An example of this would be the McDonalds logo, it is immediately recognisable due to the brands persistent use of colour and symbolism (Bowker, 2016).

When brand consistency is established, consumers automatically think of the product when viewing the brands marketing materials; as explained by Beth Pop-Nikolav:

“You’re no longer convincing consumers to stop into your store or buy your product. Your brand is so consistent, so synonymous with your product experience that when a consumer sees your signature brand logo they are already thinking about making their next purchase from you without you even having to ask.”

(Pop-Nikolov, n/a)

-all making my choice in colour more significant. Currently at this early stage I do not know exactly WHAT it is I want my audience to think when they see my branding or illustrations, outside of their mythological nature I am unsure yet as to what emotion or values I want attributed to them. In the meantime I plan to keep considering palettes and explore their signifcance and relevance to my visual imagery and style.

Without knowing what I want to attribute to my product, I can still say with assurance what themes I don’t want to be recognisable in my product thus far, those themes being: tones related to fashion such as dull pinks and gold shimmery tones, overly pale baby pinks, blues or greens (due to their attribution with either young audiences or teen fashion), overly dark and dreary colour schemes such as those seen within the horror genre (Scene360, n/a) and highly contrasting schemes such as white and blue as this has an educational undertone that I do not wish to attribute with my branding.

Blizzard Press Center - Hearthstone

(Pinterest, n/a)

Notes During Research:

During my research, a look at some specific imagery triggered an idea that i feel ties in the game mechanic of collectability with my proposed narrative composition and mythical style.

The Drawing above shows an example of what I propose. A set of 7 (or more) cards, that can be arranged in such a way to create a larger – complete – image that tells a story to the player. Because the player needs all 7 cards to create this image, the mechanic of collection is imposed, creating a need to hold onto cards that could be useful in creating narratives in the future. This mechanic would drive collection as a primary or secondary focus for players.

Visual research that had inspired this revelation can be seen below.

This image in particular drives home, to me, a sense of story and magicality. I believe this is achieved in its’ composition – the ‘hero’ or ‘victim’ surrounded by snakes on all sides creates the illusion of time and a potential causation of events, “could he have provoked the snakes?” – and also through the use of colour – yellows, golds and deep blues – all create an etherial, dreamlike essence that pervades any sense of normalcy. Capturing this essence in my work will be important for establishing these themes in a percievable way to players.

John Singer-Sargent: Herkules und die Hydra

(Pinterest, n/a)

Francesco Solimena – Annunciazione, dopo 1733 – Photo by Statens Museum for Kunst / National Gallery of Denmark

(Pinterest, n/a)


(Pinterest, n/a)

(Pinterest, n/a)

Morrigan - Celtic Goddess of War, part of the triple goddes Morrigna along with Badb and Macha.  Also known as Anu, Mor Righ Anu.  Takes the form of a raven and flys over battlefields and choose who will die, taking their sould to the otherworld

(Pinterest, n/a)

The Morrigan is a complicated goddess. When considered as a single entity, she is the phantom queen, a mysterious figure with foreknowledge of doom and death in battle. She was said to fly high above skirmishes in the form of a crow, circling endlessly as men fought and died below. There are

(Pinterest, n/a)

(Pinterest, n/a)

Lady Liadrin Hearthstone

(Pinterest, n/a)


Bowker, J. (2016). What makes McDonald’s Logo Design so Successful?. Gorilla Studio [online]. Available at: %5BAccessed 17th Jan, 2019].

Peate, S. (2018) How to choose a brand color palette: Taking a spin on the color wheel. Fabrik [online]. Available at: [Accessed 17th Jan, 2019].

Pop-Nikolov, B. (n/a). 3 Reasons Brand Consistency is so Important. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 17th Jan, 2019].

Scene360. (n/a) Colour in Horror Films. Scene360 [online]. Available at: [Accessed 17th Jan, 2019].


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