Data-driven design

Erol Kentli
Art Director, nDreams

Erol Kentli

Erol Kentli is currently the Art Director at nDreams who has also spent time at Sony, Splash Damage and Crytek during 30 years in games.

We were delighted to welcome Erol Kentli to the Tentacle Zone last week for a talk on art bibles and the communication of aesthetic intent. This was a fabulously detailed talk covering Erol’s art direction philosophy and outlining his framework for successful art leadership.

It’s a framework that has succeeded as Erol has been working in art roles for developers – including Sony, Splash Damage and Crytek – for almost 30 years.

Erol began by defining art bibles, using two examples from non-games industries to illustrate his point:


“Screenwriting bible: Reference document ensuring consistency within ongoing productions.”


“Brand guide: Defines core elements and visual keys to create an integrated and differentiated ident.”

Brand guides are used by companies like Coca-Cola to demonstrate the rules around the use of their logo, colours and fonts. Their purpose is to align expectations, communicate aesthetic intent and ensure consistency. 

This is very similar to the concept of art bibles in the games industry. However, as Erol pointed out, art bibles generally go into much more detail and include elements such as tone, symbolism and theming.

After defining art bibles, Erol went on to talk about their format and gave us a few simple guidelines:

  • Keep it portable. Erol uses Powerpoint and then exports to PDF if he needs to share the bible with colleagues.
  • Keep it true. Make sure that the bible is accurate and updated as necessary. If the bible doesn’t reflect the latest thinking then it becomes useless.
  • Build on the pillars. This referred to an earlier point in the talk where Erol discussed project pillars, essentially the essence of your game distilled into short phrases or single words.

We’ve barely even scratched the surface of Erol’s talk. If you’d like to hear more then you can find a related version of this presentation on Develop’s YouTube account here.


Huge thanks to Erol for his time this week. If you work in games and you’re interested in sharing what you know with fellow devs then drop us a line – we’re always looking for new speakers.

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