Photodesign – Board Games

The project: take a quality photo and use editing techniques, text, and graphical elements to create a finished product.

I took a picture of one of my favorite family board games – Forbidden Island. I’ve found the game to be simple and fun, and versatile enough to get just about anyone involved in playing. A game usually lasts a short 15 minutes, which isn’t burdensome on the impatient (like my wife and I), and best of all it’s cooperative – all players working together to recover treasures before the island sinks.

The photo was taken Friday the 21st. I set up the game on a black sheet on our kitchen table. Lighting was tricky, but having the dark backdrop helped balance out the difficulty in getting ideal light.

The original photo:


I made the following edits in photoshop:

  • Edited out a corner of the background in the photo by covering it in a black shape to match the sheet.
  • A slight levels edit made the rest of the colors brighter in comparison to the black, making them stand out slightly.
  • A vibrance/saturation edit brought out some of the colors, most noticeably the yellows.
  • A selective color edit was performed on the cyans in the photo to make them a deeper blue.
  • A sharpen edit on the focused elements of the photo, most notably some words on the center cards and details on the game figures.


Each new edit was performed on its own copied layer (non-destructive editing). While show/hiding the last edit with the original, the changes are noticeable (you can replicate this effect by opening the two photos in separate tabs in your browser) – but not so much when the photos are sitting side by side. I suppose this is actually a good thing – edits should not stand out too much.

The intended message is to remind adults to stop and enjoy themselves in the moment, the way children take advantage of every moment. It combines this photo with a quote from Fragments, “Time is a game played beautifully by children.”

Quote Font: Amaranth, a sans-serif with some display-like qualities.

Citation Font: Josefin Slab, a slab-serif (just in case that was in question).

Each of these typefaces were found on Google Fonts, and I sampled the quote using the Wordmark tool. It’s a neat web app that allows you to plug in some sample text and view it with all the fonts installed on your computer. You can choose favorites and filter the results to compare those – perfect for most visual design projects.

The color scheme is triadic, taking advantage of the primary colors (red, yellow, blue) used in the board game’s design (brightened and desaturated for readability).

The final product:


Takeaways: I was most nervous about the photography aspect of this assignment, but felt like I was well-rewarded for taking a ton of photos and trying many different things: lighting, angles, settings, etc. Lighting is still something of a mystery to me, but I did learn that when shooting indoors, it’s best to get as much light as possible without making things glint or shine.

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