By Mark Schumann, Production Director & Art Director

The design of Confederate Rails took a bit to conceive and realize. I didn’t want to do a 19th century style layout, with its associated baggage of multiples of typefaces and ornamentations. Once we received the wonderful cover artwork by Mark Simmons, I did a placeholder logo in Blackoak, an Adobe typeface typical of the period, and put it aside to work on other projects.

When I came back to it, I really didn’t have anything in mind, other than avoiding a strict 19th century look. So, I did whatever I do when my typographic gears are stuck; I watched the movie Helvetica. I love the typeface, I like the school of Swiss Design that were proponents of it, and I love it when the style is pushed to its limits by studios such as The Designer’s Republic.

Anyway, the debate between typographers in Helvetica always gets me thinking; so Swiss Design plus several TV programs set in the 60s I’ve watched – An Adventure in Space and Time, Mad Men, etc. – made me think, what would this game look like if it was a 1965 design for a game set in 1865? So added to Blackoak was Akzidenz Grotesk, the19th century typographical ancestor of Helvetica and first commercial sans serif typeface, and a logo was born.

confederaterails_lid_021414

From this concept came the simplification of the border around the box illustration, and the use of a grid, which will be mirrored in the game board, which will resemble more a modern transit map (again, a concept born around the 1960s) than a 19th century one. Counters and cards will also reflect a blending of these two eras’ design style similarities.