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Baneful's Column
By Baneful
May 8, 2017

Yugioh Card Design Aesthetics 


Many have talked about the arts of individual cards but rarely about the aesthetic designs of the cards themselves.  The most apparent difference between Yugioh and Pokemon/MTG is the card size: Yugioh cards are smaller.  But there are other differences, and I’ll show two card pictures to better illustrate this.

 

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First impression: Simple design.  Boxy; lots of borders.  Empty space.

 

Card art is relatively small.  It makes up about half of the card and there is empty space on both sides of the card’s border.  Images were low-res, monsters were a simple 2D drawing with a simple abstract background.  But even though Konami got a larger budget, while the card art did improve, the borders were never widened. 

 

The name of the card is given a lot of importance with relatively large all-capital letter and a big border to house it.  In Yugioh, the name of the card is important.  It wasn’t enough to have a shiny trap card with an amazing effect, but it needed to be as apparent to the player that they owned a “Mirror Force”.  You aren’t just owning a cool-looking dragon; you’re owning the Blue-Eyes White Dragon.

In Spell/Trap Card, the card type is indicated with the card color and the circle symbol on top, but additionally, the words “Spell Card” and “Trap Card” were put in plain English to clarify the difference. 

 

For monsters, the card’s level was expressed in several times more space than the attribute.  In the early years of Yugioh, Konami originally planned on stratifying the power of monster cards via levels, except tribute summoning became less reliable over the years and smaller monsters with large effects were superior.  Now players just special summon most of their monsters, so the level doesn’t matter anyway.  The monster’s level could have gotten just one small circle (like the attribute) but power is sexy and nothing is sexier than having a 12 star behemoth like Gate Guardian.

 

I tried my hand at Photoshop for 10 minutes and came up with a new possible aesthetic for future cards:

 

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The empty space is unnecessary.  The edition and set number can fit at the bottom alongside the copyright and card ID code.  And a larger and higher resolution image can rest in the center.

 

  


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