FITME Series: Designing a product

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As we started designing the fitness card game, we went through multiple iterations of what we wanted our product to look like and feel like. Some of this was to do with the physical look of the product whilst some was much deeper than that, after all, it is a card game.

The first thing we decided on was to create cards at the standard playing card size (2.5 x 3.5 inches) as this was a size that would be easy for us to manufacture – or so we thought. Then we looked at the design of game cards, not just exercise based but also trading card games such as Yu Gi Oh! and Pokemon, to give us an idea of how to lay out the information. We looked into the type of card which was most common for printing playing cards and other game cards and found that 340gsm with a plastic coating was the most durable, especially for the purpose of cards being used during exercise where the possibility of the cards getting wet or damaged are higher.

What we found was that the majority of cards follow a certain layout, title at the top with any “level” data, an image in the middle and information at the bottom. Our initial design ideas illustrated above were actually quite bland, although it had the right layout we felt that the all black and white design did not stand out very much and some of the “fun element” of our game would be lost.

Card game rules, and how to make it work

One aspect which we had to figure out was how does the game actually work. Explained on our website ( we described the final rules however to get to this stage we had to write down what it was that we wanted players to do, then how players would win or lose and any other considerations. The first step was what do players do, or achieve by playing the game. We wanted the player to get a workout, or be motivated to work out, so our first step was to encourage exercise. The case for this was to get players to compete with each other, so we knew there would be more than one person playing and each person would need a hand of cards. Adding in randomness by shuffling a deck of cards meant that there was an element of surprise to the game which would help keep it interesting.

From this point we tested out two main systems, a forfeit based game and the current iteration of round based play. With a forfeit system, players would complete exercises but need to complete a forfeit task if they gave up or failed at a task. The forfeits would be easier, however still make the player continue with the exercise. In one example we said that cards would have some higher numbers, for example 50 sit ups, and a forfeit of 10 sit ups. This would mean that players with a lower fitness level would be able to complete the forfeits whilst those with a higher level would be able to complete the main challenge.

The problem with this system is that forfeit automatically sounds negative, and as such, our feedback from people we had asked around campus was that the exercises initially would be too hard and it would alienate beginners. So we moved into round based play. With rounds, each player would draw a number of cards and play one at a time. We decided to have “easy” cards and “hard cards”, and by shuffling them into one deck each player would have an equal chance at both types of cards. This element of randomness meant that regardless of your level of fitness, you would be able to start playing. When a player wins a round, they continue to the next card in their hand, whilst players who cannot complete the challenge or finish later must draw a new card.

With this system we worked out that each player would do the same amount of exercise, as the person who runs out of cards first wins the game. So if a player wins 7 rounds in a row, the opponent would have to draw 7 cards. In a scenario where each player wins one or two rounds each, the game could continue until there are no cards remaining in the deck. With this system there is the right amount of competition, since there is an equal chance to get hard and easy cards and there is always a way to catch up with a bit of luck. The aims from our perspective are to motivate and build a habit to work out.

Design and Packaging

The design of the cards was very much something which Kantida worked on throughout. Although myself and Kijsuchon worked on design initially, Kantida’s eye for design definitely added the fun flair that the cards needed to make them a more attractive product. Initially we thought we would include a metal tin to store the cards in but we found that after manufacturing costs this would become too expensive, and the company which printed the cards for us would already include some nicely printed boxes for us. We had some delays when producing the final elements of the cards and making sure they were print ready, once this was done we sent them to the factory ready to be printed. Initially the cost would have been just over £300 including VAT however as we were on short time we had to pay for expedited printing and delivery, the service cost £100 extra however we got our cards much earlier, within the next day we had our product and we were ready for the Eden Walk trade fair in Kingston.

So what does our product look like? Well you’ve already seen it on this blog, but here it is again in all it’s glory!


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