Pat, Tian, and I all loved the idea of playing off the “Snake” in “Snake Oil” for the game’s brand. It worked on a lot of levels. Not only is “Snake” the most prominent word in the title, snakes definitely hint at the Old West, which is one of the connections we wanted people to make. Additionally snakes are slimy, just like the snake oil salesmen of years past.
But snakes can also be a bit scary, and we wanted to make sure our game came across as fun and crazy. That meant our references to snakes had to be light and comical.
In the end, we integrated the snake theme in three ways:
- We developed the game’s signature snake mascot. Not only was it front and center on all of the the box sides, but it also ended up on all of the cards as well. With its innocent smile, bright eyes, whimsical costumes, and comic book speech bubbles, it definitely comes across as cheerful and amusing.
- We playfully added “s-s-s” to s-words throughout the box. At one point, we were using it too much that it made it difficult to read, so we toned it down and used it almost exclusively on words that started with the letter “s”.
- Pat used a texture for the “Snake” part of the main “Snake Oil” logo that looks strikingly similar to snake scales.
We decided to keep the front and the back consistent and only to change the actual two-word product and customer in the speech bubbles. Deciding which product to highlight in this important way was very difficult. We took into account humor, spacing, grammar/articles, appeal to various age groups, and more. Again these PDFs are darker than the actual game box.