Data Merge, Logo Design and DriveThruCards

Here’s your New Year update (and Happy President’s Day)!

Data Merge

InDesign’s Data Merge feature is amazing. Using it, I found I could create a template for card layouts and using a spreadsheet, it auto-generates each and every iteration of a set of cards. Making edits is also really easy as it simply required updating the spreadsheet and re-populating the Data Merge. Before this, I was laying out each and every individual card in a 3×3 grid using Illustrator and while I tried to make everything pixel perfect, it was only good enough for prototypes.

A side-by-side shot of using InDesign's Data Merge feature with a spreadsheet.

A side-by-side shot of using InDesign’s Data Merge feature with a spreadsheet.

All of the credit here goes to Daniel Solis and his specific blog post here. I forget how I found his blog but I’ve been following it for some time now. From art direction and graphic design to game production and game design, I find each post really useful. Daniel also hosts a Skillshare class that goes over the Data Merge in-depth in addition to other tips and techniques. While I haven’t taken it myself since my mediocre CS skills suffice, I think even just the Data Merge portion makes the class well worth it.

Fun fact, both Daniel and I come from an advertising background (he from the creative side, me from the account side).

Logo Design

In my last post, I mentioned I was in the process of making Thumbtack Games’ logo. A former classmate of mine, Namphuong (you can view her kick-butt portfolio here), graciously took on the project and I am proud to have it finally make its debut.

Thumbtack Games' logo!It took quite a few rounds of review and a couple 180s but we ended up with something I’m really happy with. One step closer.

Fun fact, similar to Daniel and myself, Namphuong also comes from an advertising background.


DriveThruCards is a POD (print-on-demand) service and was one of the options I was considering in my last post. Truly taking it heart about taking it one step at a time, I shifted mindsets and think a POD service is the better way for me to go instead of a Kickstarter campaign. I can execute using it much faster and there’s less risk since I don’t have to pay anything upfront. Kickstarter is still an option in the future but for Overflow, POD feels like the right way to go. Learning Data Merge was a huge convincing step and in the next few months, my goal is to utilize DriveThruCards to print some nice prototypes to bring to a Bay Area Unpub/Protospiel event. More on that to come!

Fun fact, DriveThruCards comes from an advert- KIDDING!

With Data Merge in my arsenal, Thumbtack’s logo finalized and DriveThruCards’ potential, it’s all becoming that much more real.



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