Noah (“Nomich”) Johnson started his family games company, Nomich Games, back in 2020 and he wears many other hats, such as: game design, graphic and web design, customer service, marketing, networking and sales. Nomich Games‘ mission is to promote community through simple, quick-to-learn, addictively-fun games that get people interacting and laughing together.
“My name is Noah Johnson. I am a game designer, graphic designer and motion graphics animator and I also started my own family business back in 2020 called Nomich Games and our mission is to promote community through super fun quick-to-learn simple games.
“For all the games that we publish, I do all the graphic design and all the artwork and I became a board game artist, because we had games that we made, were super fun and we just wanted to share them with people and I had the skill set to do it.
“So I’ve been a graphic designer since 2015. So I’ve been doing this for over eight years now and so I really got into making artwork for games specifically when we had games that had to be made.
“The art style I’m best known for is a very simple modern, bold, colourful style, very vector-based, very geometric and simple.
“The first board game I was an artist for was a game known as Bored Game: The Board Game, which was one of the first games we made and it’s just a very fun, bright, colourful game. We never actually published that one, because it has had a lot more components and so the first game we published was a game called Exe-Cute-Tion, which is a very fun and bright, colourful game, super simple, super fast-paced, but very bright and colourful and adorable.
“I would say that technically Bored Game: The Board Game was my first game, but truly the first game I did was Exe-Cute-Tion.
“The work I am most proud of for a board game would definitely be Exe-Cute-Tion, because it was the first game where we created it and thought this has something and then the idea is that it’s adorable capital punishment execution and so you have all these cute little characters and you have these cards and they say like “Decapitation”. It’s just a cute little picture of a cupcake and I’m proud of it, because I actually did most of the base artwork in less than 72 hours and we had a fully functioning game in less than 72 hours from the initial point of making it and then finalizing or finalizing the first draft of the game and so I’m super proud of that, because we did it so quickly and the artwork is so clean and so cute.
“I like designing graphics and creating artwork that is very professional very clean, very eye-catching and colourful and bright, as you probably might have caught up on.
“I think the most important part of making artwork for board games is having it memorable, having it eye-catching and making it something that people want to play with, because if you have a game that just looks boring it’s not fun to look at. Like, I personally have a very bright and fun colourful aesthetic, but there’s also games like Scythe where Scythe has a very dark aesthetic and that makes it fun to play because it’s really about building up this world and entering into the world whereas my games are all just very bright and when you played on a card it gives you a certain emotional reaction, because that’s the most important part I think, definitely, making it something that people want to play with.
“I think the most challenging part of making artwork for board games is trying to figure out what tone you’re trying to set with any design. I’m a designer at heart and so I’m not just an artist. I’m not just a digital artist. I specifically think about intention and I think of it as a problem to be solved and so the most challenging part of any sort of design is what are you’re trying to evoke and if you’re both the game designer and the game artist, it does make it more difficult, because you have to create everything from scratch instead of just be given a prompt and then try to problem solve from that.
“The longest I worked on art for a board game was… I don’t know… I’m gonna… I’m gonna not… Please cut this one out… I have no idea. I work very quickly and all the games are my own and so I just work on them until I’m done. So I don’t even know. I don’t keep track.
“In my view, board game artwork should be immersive and representative of the type of gameplay that you are doing. A few graphic designers’ style that I admire the most are Aaron Draplin, Malika Favre and Risa Rodil. Those three are very inspiring to me and a lot of my simplistic, bold aesthetic and colourful aesthetic come from seeing their artwork and just falling in love with it.
“If you’re listening and you want to become a board game artist yourself I’d say just start create something. If you’re wanting to just do artwork specifically for games, I’d say find a game and take a game that you really like. So like if you really like Uno, find a way to take Uno and then redesign the cards to make it look different. Obviously don’t try to sell that to anyone, but just start creating something by imitating something else, because that will allow you to have a better understanding of how the process is done and then I would also recommend just looking at different artists that you admire finding their skill and seeing what kind of stuff you like. If you’re an illustrator, awesome. Like I can’t draw for anything. I can’t, I mean, I’m a graphic designer. I can’t draw at all so don’t try to ask me for that.
“f you ever want to get in touch with me you can always shoot me an email at [email protected] or go to our website at nomichgames.com and that’s n, as in November, o, m as in Mike, i-c-h, games.com. So nomichgames.com. I’d love to connect and talk and give you any advice that I have. Please reach out anytime – seriously.”