I've been thinking about inserts a lot lately. I'm working on them for Alien, and it's really an interesting little exercise in typography and iconography. I'm enjoying the focus of it.
I'm an iterater. It's not a real word I don't think, but it should be. I redo, and tweak, and balance, and then go back and take the things I learned from the end back to the beginning. My wife tells me I change things that no one but me will notice. Maybe. But it's just how I find peace with the project. I'm rarely actually done, I just hit a point where it's time to stop.
Inserts are a great place for this kind of process. You want them to all feel a little different, and rule-connected ones be grouped visually, but you also want a consistent feel that binds the whole playfield together. For instance, I'm enjoying exploring the use of negative space. Shadow is a game that does that great with the mode design. It lets you bring forth the text in a great way. I'm really looking forward to what we can do with them with the RGB lights under all the inserts.
Maybe you've thought about this kind of stuff before, maybe not. There's a lot of great pins with boring inserts. We often don't think about them. They can be very utilitarian (especially older pins). But some stand out if you stop and look.
Without getting into it, there's been a lot of talk lately about the kind of inserts people *don't* like. What about sharing some designs that we really love?
Maybe take a few minutes and go look at your collection. Just pay attention to the inserts. See if anything strikes you. It's fun to examine something you're familiar with with a new perspective.
I'll kick it off with a favorite design by Greg Freres, from Scared Stiff.
You don't need to be an art critic, or know Photoshop. Just look at what you like. These inserts are great. So cleverly integrated into the drawings, and each referencing the theme of the associated mode so well. Greg Freres isn't doing the same kind of work now. But when he had the freedom to just draw from his mind he was really doing some classic work.
Or what about Metallica? There's almost no text on the playfield. The inserts are all done with iconography. So rad.