Designer uses Yupo synthetic paper to deliver innovative board game format
We often hear the old adage of using “the right tool for the job.” Designer Bruce Leone proved the truth of the saying when facing the challenge of designing an innovative version of that most traditional staple of family entertainment, the board game.
Ocean 88 LLC, the developers of a new board game called “Island Run: Put Your Feet in the Sand,” brought this challenge to Leone’s graphic design firm Ink Inc. In order to make this new game stand out, the company needed a design that would have an immediate, unique appeal to a specific target audience—tourists and travel professionals.
Island Run was conceptualized as a traditional board game: flat paperboard game board, playing cards, money, game pieces – the whole Monopoly® approach. Based on the idea of traveling in the Caribbean, this game is targeted to families who might be planning to visit the area, and to cruise ships, hotels, resorts and travel agents looking for a unique item for promotional giveaways. Dubbed “The game that brings ‘em back!” Island Run is intended to entertain families and encourage first time or repeat visits to the Caribbean tropics.
The design challenge for Leone was how to give a board game with a traditional format a distinctive appeal. As an experienced commercial designer, he also recognized that the design needed to be cost effective, since Ocean 88 intended to market the game as a promotional item to the travel industry, which has become increasingly price conscious.
Thinking outside the box (literally) his almost immediate response was “YUPO!” Not an eccentric cry of discovery, yupo is the name of synthetic paper made by yupo Corporation of America. This unique product does not possess the physical limitations of standard paper. In contrast, it is tear and stain resistant and 100% waterproof, without requiring lamination. Unlike laminated paper, however, YUPO’s stellar durability is also combined with complete flexibility, which greatly enhances its functionality and versatility for meeting a wide range of project requirements.
Those attributes led Leone to his innovative concept, a flexible board that could be conveniently packaged in a tube and would provide a durable playing surface that could be used anywhere, even on the beach or next to a cruise ship pool.
He knew from previous experience that a board made from yupo would provide the required flexibility and durability and would also lay flat after being stored in a tube. “Because it is a synthetic paper,” he points out, “it doesn’t have the paper grain that tends to hold the curled shape.”
Being able to package the board in a tube would also provide a practical mailer, a compact hotel gift item and a space-saving travel souvenir for tourists. “This could also be a unique gift, like the complimentary shampoo travelers get from hotels, with the same goal of being a memento to remind them of their great vacation,” says Leone, “so it should be as compact as possible.”
The 24” x 17 ½“” flexible game board was printed on yupo 78lb. text in four-color process using Braden Sutphin Synthetic Process inks. The vibrant colors Leone chose let the graphics practically jump off the board.
“One of the other advantages of using yupo synthetic paper,” Leone adds, “is that inks really ‘pop’ on the smooth surface.”
With colorful seashells serving as engaging game pieces, the board shows game spaces weaving among the islands of the Caribbean. Playing cards, color-coded “sand dollar” money, instructions (printed on parchment with the feel of a treasure map) and a die for determining moves complete the set. All items were designed by Ink Inc., including the graphics for the printed plastic tube that holds all the elements.
When Leone presented a finished game prototype to Ocean 88, the company was extremely pleased with the final design. “The result was an awesome hit with the customer,” reports Leone. “Because it was an entirely different approach from the usual board game, it really stands out. It had the ‘punch’ and the flair that they wanted.”
To get the game in front of potential customers, such as cruise lines, Ocean 88 ran a small production of prototype game boards. This limited run ended up being much more economical than it would have been if paperboard game boards and cartons had been used instead of yupo synthetic paper and tube packaging.
“Eliminating the bulky board and carton packaging from the game format reduced their costs for test marketing,” adds Leone. “Multiple cruise lines are currently looking at the game as a possible marketing piece, and the ability to make cost-effective prototypes makes it possible to make a very strong presentation.”
For more information about yupo synthetic paper, visit www.yupo.com or contact Martin Fiorillo, Vice President, Sales and Distribution, yupo Corporation of America, 800 yupo Court, Chesapeake, VA 23320. Telephone: +1 888-USE-YUPO.
For more information about Ink Inc., visit www.planetink.com or contact (330) 875-4789.
For more information about Island Run Board Game, visit www.ocean88.com or contact (330) 705-7988.