Improving Skills With Graphic Design Games
Sometimes you don’t want to take a design course to improve your design skills. Sometimes, you just want to play a game instead right? I’ve been really into online learning over the last few months in an effort to improve my design skills. After taking a few Coursera and Skillshare courses I thought it was time for a change of pace with some more unconventional design learning.
I figured that, instead of structured courses and classes, I could look for graphic design games that I could play online. Thankfully, I found some awe0some sites. Here, I’ve put together a list of some super fun graphic design games that make it much more fun to learn specific design skills like kerning type or using the pen tool.
This 10 best graphic design games list includes games like Pixactly, Hex Invaders, Kern Type, and more games that will help designers improve their skills.
Improves your knowledge of digital pixel sizes
I would consider Pixactly to be great for the type of designer who requires perfection in everything; the type that requires every single pixel to be perfectly aligned and sized no matter the project. This site takes that idea and makes a game around creating perfect shapes with specific dimensions. Honestly, this one is difficult.
Playing is simple; just draw a box in the dimensions given. For example, the game may ask you to create a box at exactly 30 pixels wide by 15 pixels high. Simply draw it on the screen and the game will tell you how far off from the correct dimensions you were. So the lower the score, the better you’ve done.
I actually find this game to be very helpful for size estimation of things for digital work. I often underestimate the size of a document I’ll need to make for the web, so this game is actually helping me to be a bit better at knowing exactly what pixel dimensions I should be using.
Improves your knowledge of hex codes
Of all the graphic design games on this page, this is definitely the most game-like. This is like a speed round quiz for knowing your hex codes. Want to defeat the aliens? Better know your hex codes to know which colour alien to shoot at. It sounds complicated but it’s really not too bad.
The game starts off by giving the player some basic info on hex codes, being that hex codes pertain to the amount of red, green, and blue in a colour. The intensity of a colour ranges from 0 to F; F being all the colour. This is why #000000 is black, because it’s void of any colour, and #ffffff is white, because it contains all colour. That makes sense right? Anyway, the game will explain it to you before you play. Then you just shoot and destroy the aliens to win.
Improves your knowledge of proper kerning
As someone who gets irrationally angry over poor kerning, I’m asking you to please play this game. Improve your kerning skills. Do it for the entire design community.
If you hadn’t already guessed, this is a kerning game. Sounds fun right? Well it is. Players are given a single word that they can move interior letters from to make the kerning in that word consistent. As far as graphic design games go, this is one of the best. It’s simple to play and understand, yet challenging enough that it’s consistently fun.
Improves your knowledge of font pairings
Admittedly, this one is less of a design game and more of a great resource for font pairings. That being said, I still had a lot of fun with it; seeing what typefaces worked with others.
Initially you choose one of the fonts from the list in the image below, then it gives you a riddle to choose an appropriately paired font. After, you’re shown three more typefaces to help you make your final choice.
On the next screen you can compare the fonts directly, showing one typeface semi-transparent on top the other. After this, you move to the next screen by clicking on ‘send them on a date’. Most of the time, it will then show you the two typefaces being used together in a layout. Other times, it will simply tell you ‘sorry’ or ‘not quite’ because you’ve made a bad font pairing. I guess in that way, this is like a game.
Requires Flash Player
Does not improve design skills, but will help design stress
This game is purely for fun and directed exclusively to designers who want to see Arial get its ass kicked by Helvetica. I mean that literally. You play as every lower case letter and number of Helvetica as you battle it out with lower case Arial letters and numbers.
It’s a fun game that really teaches you nothing, but if you’re in the right mood and are angry enough at Arial, it’s a lot of fun.
Improves your pen tool skills
I’ve actually been playing this one quite a bit lately to improve my pen tool skills. The pen tool can be tricky, and even having used it for years as a designer, it can be difficult to easily create certain shapes to pixel perfection.
This game gives you shapes, from basic to complex, to trace using the pen tool. There’s a quick tutorial that introduces players to drawing straight and curves lines with the pen tool.
This is actually one of the better graphic design games I’ve seen for designers because you can’t stop and edit a path after drawing it; you have to draw it perfectly the first time. What a way to perfect your pen tool skills.
Improves your colour wheel terminology and knowledge
Here is a game that will really test your design eye and your colour knowledge. There are six levels to this game, all which test your knowledge of colour on the colour wheel. The object of each level is to find the exact colour(s) that match the timer colour inside the wheel. This isn’t hard to accomplish in the first level, but it gets trickier when the colour wheel expands and you have to quickly locate more than one colour on the colour wheel at a time.
This is a simple game that gives a great introduction to how colours on the colour wheel work in addition to some colour terminology.
Tests your knowledge of typefaces
If you really think you know your fonts, check this out. It’s a straightforward game of guessing a typeface. Players are given four multiple choice answers to choose from to guess a specific typeface. The typefaces are mostly standard, with a few odd ones thrown in there.
The font game is a really fun challenge for designers because it forces you to compare the shapes of very similar typefaces to figure out which is which. On my first try I scored 23 out of 30, which I am actually pretty proud of.
This is less of a game and more of a test, but if you do well on the first level you can try level 2, which is significantly more difficult. I got 8 out of 30.
Check out all the type quizzes on ILoveTypography.com. There are quizzes on font anatomy, glyphs, early printing, and Gutenberg.
Improves your pen tool skills and knowledge of how fonts are drawn
If you love using the pen tool and exploring the shape of typefaces, this game is for you. Players are given a single letter of a certain typeface with specific points on the letter they can manipulate to complete the letter so that all curves and edges are exactly as they should be.
This game also happens to be a good way for new designers to become familiar with the pen tool, in addition to becoming familiar with how actual typeface letters are drawn. This is one of the more challenging graphic design games on this list, so good luck!
Requires Flash Player
Improves your knowledge of serif vs sans serif typefaces
This is a game that is exactly what it sounds like. Players are given a screen full of different letters in different typefaces and they are asked to shoot all the serif fonts. That’s it. It’s very basic but a lot of fun.
Admittedly, there isn’t a lot of learning involved in this one, but it might be a great intro for design students who have difficulty sorting out serif typefaces from sans serif ones.
The 10 Best Graphic Design Games To Play Online: In Conclusion
I think graphic design games, like the ones listed here, are really helpful for the design community. Anything that is both fun and informative is an absolute win in my books.
I really loved playing some of these games. Kern Type, especially, I found to be a lot of fun because it really makes you focus on the spacing between letters even more than you would when designing. I’m also pretty sure my pixel dimension estimation abilities have improved since using Pixactly.
I debated adding Uxcel to this list, because it provides an unconventional approach to learning design through quizzes about user experience and user interface. However, it’s such a big site (and wouldn’t really fit on a list of graphic design games) so I think I’ll do a separate post on Uxcel in the future.
If you know of any other graphic design games that should be added to this list let me know in the comments below!
If you enjoy these graphic design games but are still looking for more design fun, check out Graphic Design Play Book: An Exploration of Visual Thinking by Sophie Cure. This is one of the coolest books I’ve seen in a long time. It’s packed full of design games and activities that might spark an idea or just help you de-stress for awhile.
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