Design
Anna Hamera
2021-12-23

Learning Design While Playing Games? Sounds great!

Recent years have brought us an amazing development in the field of design, especially in the area of digital product design. Wannabe designers are looking for different ways to acquire the necessary skills – the participate in lectures, workshops, seminars. Today, we will introduce you to another way of gaining knowledge – learning through games. Yes, exactly! You can learn while having fun.

A few words of introduction

Recent years have brought us an amazing development in the field of design, especially in the area of digital product design. Wannabe designers are looking for different ways to acquire the necessary skills – the participate in lectures, workshops, seminars. Today, we will introduce you to another way of gaining knowledge – learning through games. Yes, exactly! You can learn while having fun.

Learning through the use of games is possible thanks to the use of gamification . So, what is gamification exactly? It is a situation where the mechanisms commonly found in games are used to influence human behavior, e.g., motivate them to act. This method is based on the feeling of pleasure that comes from overcoming subsequent challenges, leaving behind your competition and cooperating with other participants of the game.

One of the precursors of this method in education and marketing was Paweł Tkaczyk. He included a simple explanation of the topic in his book published in 2011, "Gamification. How to apply game mechanisms in marketing activities.” It says that "[...] there is an alternative to the traditional school system of education - enjoyable, game-based, dopamine-stimulated education."

This technique is based on the pleasure that comes from overcoming the next achievable challenge. Gamification allows participants to engage in activities that are generally considered boring and unattractive.

That is why the use of gamification in education is like hitting a bull's eye. Playful learning is promoted from the earliest stages of education. So, why not use it in adult learning?

Survey among designers

A few weeks ago, we conducted a survey among designers to check their opinion on learning the principles of design by means of playing specially prepared games. It was attended by designers from around the world – Graphic Designers, UX / UI Designers, Product Designers, Visual Designers and representatives of related professions. We received 64 replies. The respondents were both beginners and experts.

The results of the study turned out to be extremely surprising!

As many as 64% of respondents have never had contact with games aimed at teaching design. Furthermore, people who develop their knowledge in this way indicated the most common reasons for using these games:

  • playing these games is good entertainment (30%),
  • it improves their qualifications (28%),
  • games help them acquire knowledge easier (15%).

In the case of the reasons why the respondents do not play games for designers, the most popular are:

  • not knowing these games (70%),
  • uncertainty if these games may affect their skills (10%),
  • considering them a waste of time (4%).

It is clear from this data that the most serious reason why designers don't play games that help them acquire design skills is that they simply do not know about them. On the other hand, people who have already tried this way of learning are satisfied with it and see its advantages.

Moreover, there were also cases where people thanked us for the survey, because it allowed them to find out about many new places where they can learn through play. We are glad that we can help you gain some knowledge!

Top 5 most popular games for designers

So, you are surely wondering which games are most often played by designers to improve their technical skills. Here are the TOP 5 most popular games for designers (the evaluation criterion was based on the declared frequency of use of these games).

1. Kern Type

The game is about adjusting kerning – the distance between individual letters of a given word. At the beginning of the game, the distances between the letters are set randomly. Our task is to correct their position in accordance with the principles of design. The goal is to obtain harmonious typography.

kern type game example

Link to the website: https://type.method.ac/

2. The Bézier Game

Do you remember all the line drawing exercises from kindergarten? This game is exactly like that. You should build the path using Bézier curves according to the given picture.

Bézier Game example

Link to the website: https://bezier.method.ac/

3. UXCel

As you can read on the main website, ”UXCel helps you to learn & be aware of UX / UI design techniques in an incredibly easy and beautiful way. You really learn while playing!”. This site allows you to study individual lessons and test your knowledge in the form of quizzes, and also offers a separate module for games.

UXCel example

There are four types of games at our disposal:

- Error spotting – here you play to identify which picture in the pair has a mistake on it. The questions are tricky!

UXCel error spotting example

- Eye-lignment – Can you tell at a glance if the elements are properly aligned? It turns out it's not that easy!

Eye-lignment UXCel game example

- Color Matching – it is seemingly the easiest game as you just need to specify in which picture the elements are correctly aligned. But sometimes it is not easy. As the game progresses, the difficulty increases.

Color Matching UXCel game example

- Ultimate UEye – this game is a combination of all three of the above types in one game (in random proportion).

4. KOLOR

In this game, you have to choose which of the circles has the same color as the large rectangle in the center. An additional difficulty is the countdown and the fact that as the game progresses, the number of options available to choose from increases.

KOLOR game example

Link to the website: https://kolor.moro.es/

The Font Game

In this game, the aim is to recognize the font of the given string and correctly indicate its name from the four options available. The game is not limited by time. It's addictive!

Font game example

Link to the website: https://ilovetypography.com/2020/07/01/the-font-game/

Other games that were just behind the podium:

Summing up

As you can see, the range of games for developing designer skills is quite large. Both lovers of typography and color experts will find something for themselves. These times offer us many ways to develop our skills, and games certainly occupy an important place. They allow you to learn while having fun, and when learning is fun, there is no problem to continue it throughout your lifetime.

Do you know these websites? Do you use designer games in your learning routine? Share your opinion with us! We hope that our article will inspire you to get acquainted with this unusual form of learning!

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