The folks at Wizards of the Coast want to give each Magic card set a distinctive feel, color palette, iconography and visual cues, so that each piece within that set feels cohesive, and so that each set stands apart from the others on the retail shelves. Magic set designs are surprisingly intensive projects that can last several months, and include everything from “let’s start from scratch” mood boards to surprisingly specific mockups of set pieces, posters, packaging, suggestions on how to treat the logo, and more. The final deliverable of these concepting projects is a suite of tools that any WotC designer can use to create additional packages, web graphics, and ads for the set.
My first Magic concepting job was for a set entitled Kaladesh, which was pitched as a World’s-Fair-meets-Steampunk fantasy world. This set included many visual elements that were unique to it, and with those elements came new challenges, including the detailed paper airships which were designed, cut out and re-assembled for game stores.
After I helped design Kaladesh, I was lucky enough to work on additional Magic concept projects, including Aether Revolt, Magic 2019, Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, and War of the Spark. I also designed the “Universal Magic” document for Wizards of the Coast, which details the elements that should be consistent across all Magic products and sets.
Wizards of the Coast