Risk

As Kittinger says, "Risk was a little bit of a challenge. I had played the game maybe once in my life, so I took my inspiration from what I already knew of the game: You conquer as much as you can!"

Risk

"The type treatment was derived heavily from the clunky, angular aesthetic of modernist war propaganda. The colors are nostalgic--but modernized--versions of fascist color palettes: bright reds and oranges, with muted colors."

Monopoly

"Monopoly’s update was probably the most difficult. The colors and style of the game are so recognizable, that it seemed like a faux-pas to create my own visual language for the redesign. I finally came to the conclusion that to make a successful series, I had to change Monopoly for it to all work. The colors reference the game itself, with its vibrant greens, reds, and yellows, and the typography waves subtly to suggest the shape and dimensionality of paper bills."

Ouija

"Creating the packaging and content for Ouija was my favorite part of this series. Using cool, nocturnal colors, and bold, heavily modified lettering, I wanted to convey a feeling of alienation and dysfunction. The board itself is laid out in QWERTY, giving the spirits a chance to use a more modern way of contacting the living, and the simple layout of the board and instructions provides more clarity for the players."

Clue

"For Clue, I was heavily inspired by setting of the storyline behind the game--a mansion set in post-war New England (maybe that was just the movie?). The type and texture evoke a romantic mystery, and the color palette, dark but vibrant, reflects the colorful characters involved."

The complete set

"For Clue, I was heavily inspired by setting of the storyline behind the game--a mansion set in post-war New England (maybe that was just the movie?). The type and texture evoke a romantic mystery, and the color palette, dark but vibrant, reflects the colorful characters involved."

Co.Design

Redesigning Monopoly, Clue, And The Ouija Board To Evoke A Bygone Era

Student Sam Kittinger draws inspiration from vintage, modernist game-box designs to reinvent some of our favorite old Parker Brothers games.

Bought a new board game recently? My condolences. Chances are, the box looked like someone vomited up every last trick in the graphic designer’s playbook, and now the game’s resting on a shelf somewhere blinding family members every time they pass by. Board-game packaging has seen simpler (better) days--days Baltimore-based design student Sam Kittinger channels in a lovely redesign of classic Parker Brothers games.

Parker Brothers was the 19th- and 20th-century toy manufacturer that developed staples of America’s board-game repertoire, such as Risk, Clue, Ouija, and Monopoly--the subjects of Kittinger’s revamp (Parker Brothers is now a subsidiary of Hasbro). “These re-designs of classic Parker Brothers board games stemmed from a desire to deconstruct the overdone packaging board games nowadays are so known for,” Kittinger tells Co.Design. “Drawing inspiration from vintage, modernist game box designs, these re-inventions focus on simplistic imagery, experimental typography, and limited color schemes.”

We’ve seen plenty of companies try to market their wares by evoking the aesthetics of yesteryear--and fail. Here, the concept actually works, because board games are something worth getting nostalgic about. They evoke cozy familial traditions and a time when we our eyeballs weren’t perpetually glued to computer screens. What a shame that Kittinger’s work is strictly hypothetical (he created the editions for his advanced design class at the Maryland Institute College of Art). The board-game industry has remained relatively robust over the years, but it stands to reason that manufacturers could increase their profit margins by investing in design that better reflects why people actually buy their board games. We reckon Rich Uncle Pennybags would approve.

Above, Kittinger details why he designed the games the way he did.

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6 Comments

  • susanb4art

    I just visited a local game store and found that Parker Brothers actually released RISK in a reissue of the original game. Beautiful, and these designs stuck with me over the last month. Thanks. 

  • C.elisabeth

    100% agree with Florac's post. Love the hypothetical designs!!! Wish Parker Brothers would pick them up.

  • Florac

    Amen! These designs are lovely. Well done! I would also comment that the recent board game redesigns have not just been on the packaging but the games themselves! Have you picked up a recent game of CLUE lately? I was so excited to share this experience with my daughter and was very disappointed that the game board looks like a cheesy, posh, modern california home v.s. the creepy mansion experience that it used to be. Yup. No dusty old  library to kill Miss Scarlet with a rope anymore. These games are nostalgic, and some, like Clue, were kind of based in a nostalgic backdrop. A lot of the charm and intrigue has been taken away in an effort to try and be relevant to today's modern kids. But even kids today have imagination, how about we visually leave some for just that? (Florac@jacobsagency.com)