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Package Design

Case Study

Mortal Kombat 4 Computer Game Packaging

 Retail packaging + Manual Cover + CD Disk Art + Jewel Case Cover and Back 

 Package Design + Creative Direction + Print Production 

This project was completed many years ago, but it is representative of the kind of work I have done throughout my career. I had been working with Midway Home Entertainment for several months on other projects so they trusted me to get this one done as usual. I was and am an avid computer gamer myself and even build my own custom gaming rigs from individual components. I was thrilled to get the Mortal Kombat 4 PC game box contract from Midway. Mortal Kombat is one of the most famous game franchises in history. Bad news was… it was an extremely short deadline over the Christmas holidays and they had very few visual assets. It was a frightening task, but I couldn’t say no. It was Christmas eve and they wanted a box design with flap ready to print by no later than January 15th. So I really needed to be done in 10 days to insure I could make revisions in time to print. Normally I would be pushing it to get something like this done in six to eight weeks. This is where being a solo designer working from a home office is really convenient. Working remotely has been a way of life for me since I started Hogan Design in 1989. I cancelled holiday plans with the wife and kid and committed to working 16 to 18 hours a day for those 10 days. I had a concept in mind right away and just got to work. No preliminary designs or approvals. I just started creating the box, designing as I built. All I had to work with were a logo, a few 3D renderings of game characters, a few in-game screen shots and a few more 3D renders of game props. I used a 3D program to render backgrounds and built the main images in Photoshop (like the one above). Some had over 100 layers. I had a box die vector from a previous project (a digital line drawing from the carton printer that shows where they will cut and fold the cardboard to make the box.) Oh, I almost forgot, I had to come up with designs for the DVD art, Jewel Case Liner and Manual Cover as well.

Original retail packaging solution Design

This is the final result of a marathon design and production effort for me. I was able to design, produce and coordinate printing for this game box. CD art, Jewel Case art (not shown) and manual cover. This was completed in about 2 weeks over the Christmas-New Years holiday. 

Mortal Kombat 4 CD Design

This was the design I came up with for the art to be printed directly on the CD disk. The Mortal Kombat logo appears on this 3D gong image. It seemed like a natural for the CD art. I can not take credit for the logo design. I wish I could. It was nicely done.

Mortal Kombat 4 User Manual Cover Art

Basically I flipped the main image I used for the retail box and after a little adjustment, it worked great for the wrap-around Manual cover. I added the words “INSTRUCTION MANUAL” under the logo using a typeface that seemed to work. There was some concern on my part about the client disagreeing with my abuse of their logo. No worries, they liked it.

Mortal Kombat 4 3D Assets

These are some of the 3D Assets that the guys at Midway produced and were used for the retail packaging I designed.

Mortal Kombat 4 Jewel Case Liner Art

The image above is called a “Jewel Case Tray Liner.” It was printed on regular paper and placed inside the plastic CD case used to protect the game installation CDs. These plastic cases are more expensive to produce than the usual paper sleeves. 

Mortal Kombat 4 Box Front Art

This is the final version of the box front flap. The box was designed with a flap that opens like the cover of a book. Inside was more detail about the game to help the buyer with his purchase decision. This cover design was a big hit with the client.

 Mortal Kombat 4

 Complete Retail Box Layout ready for print 

 Package Design + Creative Direction + Print Production + 3D Modeling

The above image is what a print ready computer game box looks like. If you look closely you can see the red die line that would be used by the printer to do his die cut and fold. This one has a flap on the front as well as a blind emboss that makes the Goro character have a raised affect on the paper. The image to the far right is the inside cover.

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