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College of Design

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Coming Up With a Name

These past few weeks have been absolutely crazy! Not only have I been finishing the coding and design for my video game, I also began working on a poster design for the game that would go up in our senior show exhibit. Ideally, I would have liked to have my game available for visitors to play, but that would require leaving my laptop out in Rapson Hall for over a week—and that just isn't practical! Instead, I decided to create a large poster that featured the box art for the game, which you would find on the front of the case if the game were sold in stores. Illustrating the different elements of this design and deciding on the colors and type I wanted to use were difficult, but honestly, the most difficult part of this whole process was settling on a name for the game.

I've never been the best at coming up with names, be it for a character in a story or a hypothetical business for a branding project. Names just don't come easily to me. But to go for months working on this game without any semblance of a name coming to mind, at any point in the design process ... that was a little ridiculous.

I decided it was time to get down to business and settle on something, because I needed to have this poster ready by next Tuesday, and it was Friday, and I wasn't getting anywhere by brainstorming on my couch. I got up, went to the local Starbucks, and started writing out as many words related to my game as I could think of. This game is based around a chat client, where you play as a character who interacts with other college students like yourself as part of a research project ... but the professor running the project isn't quite what they seem. I knew I wanted to incorporate some sort of word relating to the connection the player makes with their newfound friends, but I wanted the name to feel appropriate for a cheesy, retro-sounding chat room that an older professor might have designed. In my word map, I ended up writing down the word "link," and something about that just felt right. I started thinking of other words I could add to it that would make it sound more technological, and my mind went to "astral," as in something related to space or astronomy. Putting the two words together, you get ASTRALINK, and once I wrote that down, I practically melted in relief. I had a name. Finally.

Coming up with the name was far from the end of my work—I still had to finish designing the poster, not to mention the printing, mounting, and hanging that all had to come afterward—but it marked a turning point for my project. I'm finally in the home stretch! I have a game, a name, and now a finished poster, which you can go see at the LAUNCH exhibit in Rapson Hall!

Until next time,

Graphic design