How The Alternative Facts Game was Created in Less than a Week

by Theresa Christine Johnson on 03/06/2017 | 4 Minute Read

After Kellyanne Conway explained that Sean Spicer was merely stating “alternative facts” about Trump’s inauguration, it was only a matter of time before it got turned into memes, songs, and yes, even a card game. We spoke with Augustus Cook, the designer and one of the team members who helped create The Alternative Facts Game—in less than one. whole. week.

Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.

Augustus Cook: The design process was, embarrassingly ad hoc. More "WORK. QUICK. NOW!" Vs. "First we're going to look at territories..."

In this case there was no brief, rather a group of friends joking amongst themselves about the ridiculous the concept of “Alternative Facts”. The identity was sketched and "crafted" on Monday, we secured a printer on Tuesday, sourced and wrote all the facts by Thursday, sent the card designs off to the printer on Friday, and finalized the website on Saturday... which of course is by no means ideal, but given the time restrictions we're all proud of the result.

How did you balance getting The Alternative Facts Game ready to go as quickly as possible while also ensuring high quality and a good consumer experience?

Augustus Cook: Aside from dumb luck? For me, it was simply the team. We had a great combination of a fun project (so we squeezed a lot into the few hours we had), and an extremely collaborative spirit. Most importantly though, I think we all knew what our roles were. We all had a say in what each other were doing but we also all respected the final thought from the crafter in question.

What was the most challenging part of this project?

Augustus Cook: Timing and quality control. There were so many things we didn't consider. For example, with two days left until printing Kate asked, "So we should probably play this game right, check it works?" At which point we frantically printed out scraps of paper to test it out.

We must have re-written the rules six times, and edited out countless inappropriate "facts". Since we had no time for proofs, I remember sending a footnote to the printer that said "try to make the colors match the American flag..." Of course I could have sent Pantones but of course we were pre-occupied with whether Nicolas Cage did in fact once own a pet octopus.

If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?

Augustus Cook: Given the tight timing, I am most proud of the identity system we pulled together but more specifically the typography, and the consistency between the printed product and digital media. It was my first time using the Google fonts library for all the typography which worked beautifully. We used roboto mono for the body copy (because it reminded us of government typed memos) and we used Rubik for the headers and statements (as it reminded us of loud tabloid headlines).

What advice do you have for designers working with small time frames?

Augustus Cook: Go with your gut, try not to go around in circles self-editing. Be honest with yourself about what is a big decision and what is a small decision. I'm still not 100% happy with the curves of the A/F's in the monogram, but I'm very proud of the game and the overall design system. We got it out and, in this case, I can live with a less than perfect Bézier curve.

Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

Augustus Cook: Work with talented people who are nice. It makes everything so much easier. Especially when under pressure and tight timelines!

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