What is "gaming culture"? For many, it's the stereotype of the antisocial teenage boy in his parent's basement, addicted to energy drinks and video games. The Spielraum wants to show a very different image: digital gaming as a valued part of today's culture, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together rather than isolating anyone. Located in the small Austrian town of Innsbruck, the Spielraum is real-world place for digital gaming culture with lectures, workshops and of course, games.
Back in 2005, Nikolaus Staudacher opened the original Spielraum in Innsbruck. He has been a gamer for decades and also wrote his bachelors thesis on the topic of gaming culture. In 2016, he wanted to reopen the Spielraum at a different location in the city with a refreshed branding, and he got me to do the design.
When he first talked to me about the project I clearly understood that I would not be designing for a regular shop, I would be designing for a community.
Nikolaus and I both liked the old symbol, "Spielie", a space invaders inspired pixel creature. I didn't like the typography though - it was just too much pixel aesthetics. Also, to me, the square in the logo was a symbol for isolation and imprisonment, and we wanted to achieve the exact opposite.
After a few sketches and designs I decided Tofino Ultra would be a great choice. Such a cool looking font - friendly, smart and super confident! The Spielie symbol was already great, but I slightly corrected its proportions. Then I chose a color palette that featured a slightly fresher cyan and a nice deep dark blue.
Around the same time, we were thinking about what the brand as a whole should look like. We didn't want it to feel like it was aimed at hard core gamers only, we wanted it to be way more open, easy and fun. Looking for graphic elements that convey these values I came up with some ideas for graphic ornaments. In the end, I had two patterns, one to be used as a primary element of the branding, the other with the purpose to bring more color into the shop.
We wanted to create a small mobile app where Spielraum members can see their Spielraum credit balance, connect with friends and get some special deals. In the end, we liked the concept, but the app was not built.
We had to get everything ready for the opening. I needed to create the stationery, a membership card, flyers, stickers, social media templates, and some designs for the interior. I also did two canvasses for the shop window, one as a teaser before the opening (kindly approved by Nintendo) and one as a decoration for the actual shop. Nikolaus gave me lots of creative freedom and trust. It felt great to see the Spielraum become a real place.