Posted 07.11.18

Published by Marc in the Insights and Packaging categories

Fire Breathing Ampersand

Gather around the fire of each other's imaginations, as we push through the secret door and quickly roll through the art and graphic evolution of the most iconic, pop-culture inspiring, fantasy game...

Seems it's "chic to be geek" in the current era. If you are one of the millions who has filed into a cinema for the latest X-Men-Marvel-Disney-Twilight-Hunger-Game-Tolkien-Potter-Spin-off juggernaut, or binged through gigabytes of bandwidth watching Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Vikings, Gotham etc. Or are one of the millions of subscribers to online multi-player games such as World of Warcraft, or a traveller in the exotic role-playing titles of Skyrim, Final Fantasy or indeed have ever "levelled up" on a video-game, you have Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson to thank; creators of Dungeons & Dragons.

Nothing conveys the game and story of D&D better than it's visuals.

The rules of the game have been consistently bound for the last 40 years inside iconic packaging, all under the fire breathing ampersand logo. Nothing conveys the game and story of D&D better than it's visuals. Although, i'm glad the hobby was passing me by with the logo used between 2000-2014, i've learnt it was updated with this "look" to attract the video-game market, still...

Owning a few copies of the above titles as a teenager, my imagination was alight with a visual vocabulary of the unreal and fantastic; even if the internal page images of these titles were monochrome illustrations.

The art informs the game, the game informs the art.

For a game which for the most part takes place in the theatre of the mind, world-building takes place through immersive narrative, descriptions and given life through the illustrations and artworks. This depicting of creatures, swords and sorcery teaches players how to picture and play the game.

The art of D&D goes beyond a mutual benefit, to outright reliance; one couldn't exist without the other. The art informs the game, the game informs the art.

However, my youthful exuberance for the hobby quickly waned and dwindled back into the obscurity from where it came... fast forward 25 years, the game recently re-grabbed my attention with both hands. The culprit? A colleague leaving his freshly ordered Amazon & New York Times Bestselling - no, really - D&D books strewn around the studio.

Oh how the game and whole brand has moved on; full colour throughout, the layouts, the fonts, the new logo and those illustrations... how could I resist not opening these covers?

Just look at them, resist clicking, I dare you:

Indeed, we couldn't resist. Drawn back into the realms of the unreal and fantastical, into what feels now almost mainstream with it's current online streaming audiences. At least three of us here at View Towers participate regularly in this ultimate chic of geek hobbies. Each week resulting in "Can you believe that!?" conversations around the coffee machine... join us.

You be the bard, the storyteller, the actor, the world-builder. Entertain yourself and your friends. Get out the drinks. Arm yourself with dice, paper and pencil to battle, negotiate, problem solve and fire each other's imaginations to save the day. Peace, out!


Credit & Resources:
Hasbro Games / Wizards of the Coast
Dungeons & Dragons, D&D, the dragon ampersand are all trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc.

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