We interviewed our game cover designer Mark Tolleshaug on creating the art for the Nancy Drew games!
Her Interactive — Tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve worked with Her Interactive?
Mark — “I am a graphic designer specializing in retail packaging and branding, though I like to call myself simply a “designer”, because I love to dabble in all kinds of design, including graphic design, architecture, interior and industrial design. I began working with Her Intertactive in 1999, designing the Message in a Haunted Mansion box. It was the perfect first game to do, I mean who doesn’t love haunted mansions! I have very fond memories of working on that one. The game sold very well, so I was asked to help with the next two boxes, and then it just went on from there.
Her Interactive — How many of the Nancy Drew box designs have you worked on?
Mark — “We are now working on the 25th game of the adventure series, but I’ve also designed several specialty boxes and collector’s editions, plus the Nancy Drew Dossier series. So probably around 40 total.”
Her Interactive — Was your approach to The Captive Curse different than other packaging design projects?
Mark — “Yes and no. Because it is part of a series, it was important to have continuity with other titles, so my general approach was the same. But this was the first package where I couldn’t show the key subject or hook of the game, in this case the creature. The creature was the coolest, most mysterious aspect of the game, and incredibly scary I might add, and I couldn’t show it anywhere on the box. So I had to find ways to create that mystery and fear without directly showing him. In the end, I did sneak him in on the box, hidden in a couple of spots.”
Her Interactive –What was the single most important thing that you wanted to convey with this packaging design?
Mark — “A story. I believe what sets the Nancy Drew packaging apart from other games on the shelf, is that the covers tell a story. My goal with each box is for the consumer to play out a story in their head just by viewing the cover, without even reading or knowing details of the game. It doesn’t matter if that story is accurate to the game, initially, but I want them to begin to sense that a real adventure awaits. With The Captive Curse, the story is one of mystery and fear and sense of place: an old village in Germany. I also wanted to convey an underlying feeling of romance, not in the relationship sense, but in the experience and environment. I think old castles, stormy skies and ancient artifacts are romantic.”
Her Interactive — What do you enjoy most about working on the Nancy Drew brand?
Mark — “For me, it’s like designing a movie poster for a blockbuster movie each time. I get to immerse myself into the particular theme of that title and really try to present the game experience in the most dramatic way possible.
People often ask me which Nancy Drew package is my favorite, and I honestly choose the most current one, because I get so emotionally involved in them. When I look back, there probably are a few I appreciate more than others, The Creature of Kapu Cave, Legend of the Crystal Skull and Ransom of the Seven Ships are three that come to mind, but I think The Captive Curse is my favorite… for now :)”
Thanks Mark for sharing with us!