By Juan Godinez, Feb. 23, 2021
Introduced to art at an early age thanks to her artist mother’s influence, it was not long before alumna Summer Furzer (’17, graphic design) developed a love for design while attending Cal Poly Pomona. Now, as a creative designer at The Op, a board games and puzzles manufacturer, she illustrates iconic board games such as “SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton Rising” and her latest creation, “Monopoly: Care Bears Edition,” which released this month.
Furzer credits her early career success to her time spent at CPP. It was while working at ASI and the Bronco Wellness Center as a graphic designer that she first learned the ins and outs of creating content for different audiences.
With her latest board game, players can join Wish Bear, Grumpy Bear, Funshine Bear and more on a nostalgic trip through Baltic Avenue and the Boardwalk in The Op’s “Monopoly: Care Bears Edition.”
Furzer met virtually with The Poly Post to share insights about her latest project while reflecting back on her college days.
What initially sparked your interest in art and design?
My mom first introduced me to painting back when I was young and ever since then, I have always had a love for art. While taking architecture courses during my first year at CPP, I discovered how obsessed I was with typography, like most graphic designers. That’s what led me down the path of visual communication.
What were some elements to consider when designing “Monopoly: Care Bears Edition”?
Many of the classic Care Bears assets were used within their approved style guides in order for us to create “Monopoly: Care Bears Edition.” Throughout the entire process, I made sure to keep the same soft and snuggly feel of the original ’80s-style Care-a-Lot in mind. Every Care Bear represents a feeling that works hard to make hearts happy in a cotton candy world of rainbows, so it was important for every component of this edition — from the gameplay and copy to the tokens and artwork — to communicate the same loveable message the Care Bears do.
How long did the design process take?
The overall creative process took me a few months to fully develop the game and its artwork from start to finish. “Monopoly: Care Bears Edition” was officially released this month, so anyone can grab a copy from your local game store now or find one at The Op’s online shop at https://theop.games.
What was your favorite board game to work on?
One of my favorite games I have worked on with The Op was “SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton Rising.” I was able to do a lot of illustrations for this cooperative card game, and I have always been a huge SpongeBob SquarePants fan. So, for me, it was a dream project.
It’s also actually a lot of fun to play. I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves Bikini Bottom as much as I do.
How did your academic experience at CPP help you grow as an artist?
I am so thankful for my professors and friends from CPP. They still motivate and inspire me. I think the graphic design program at Cal Poly does an amazing job of touching on a little bit of everything before sending its students out into the working world. My student work experiences at the Wellness Center and ASI gave me a little bit of a head start when applying to places after graduation. I also think it is so important for design students to get involved with school clubs and take advantage of these kinds of opportunities.
What kind of advice would you share with aspiring artists?
It’s easy to get your heart set on a specific dream job or industry, but it can take a while to find the right fit and it’s not always what you’d expect. I’m really glad I stayed open to different opportunities before finding this current position. I would have never guessed that I would have ended up working in gaming, but I’m very happy. Every day, I get to work with great people on a wide variety of projects with many different, fun licenses. I used to stress over perfecting my portfolio. As a creative, it’s important to remember that your portfolio will never be finished or perfect. If it was, it would mean you stopped growing as an artist or designer.
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