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.