Handy Tool for Board Game and Card Game Graphic Designers: Icomoon

One of the most perplexing challenges of tabletop graphic design is how to design a whole deck of cards with variable text, stats, images, and borders. Fortunately, DataMerge makes that much easier as I describe in my SkillShare course. But there are some advanced problems that still pop up even when you've mastered DataMerge: Namely, inserting icons into any part of the text.

I discussed one method of doing this a few weeks ago, but that relied on using a pre-existing dingbats font for your icons and making bizarro GREP styles. As of that post, I hadn't found a reliable and easy to use font creator that flowed seamlessly from Illustrator to TrueType to InDesign. Well, I'm happy to say Icomoon is the app I've always wanted.

You can upload your own SVG vector files, assign keywords to them as ligatures, and save them as TrueType fonts. When you type your keywords with this font, it's automatically replaced with the icon you've chosen. All you need to do in InDesign is make a simple GREP style to apply a new character style that keyword. The character style is your icon font, plus any advanced baseline or kerning adjustments you want to make.

Designing CCG-style cards just got so much simpler.

One tip, though: Make sure your keywords are not a common combination of letters that might appear in another word. For example, if you have an icon for "hat," then it will affects words like "that" and "hatchet."


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