Role of Play: New Games, New Chances - Demonstrate the value of play in creative process

From content to design, 'Role of Play: New Games, New Chances' showcases the diverse and imaginative world of play in contemporary contexts.

About the book:

‘Role of Play: New Games, New Chances. A Future Perspective on Play in Society’ offers a refreshing take on modern game design and play. It underlines the significance of digital play for contemporary culture.

With 400+ illustrations, the authors sketch a wide variety of examples from analog play to video games, from digital treasure hunts to flying a plane, from waging galactic wars with aliens to designing your home, from battling cancer to behavior change, from puzzle games to urban planning.

This book addresses the latest trends in serious games and playification, for purposes other than pure entertainment. In their free-play form, these playful interactions increasingly contain reflections on social issues such as climate change or inclusiveness.

As change is a sign of our time, the authors show how to play with the rules that underpin society and its positive outcomes. Role of Play is intended for a wider audience, including game--and social designers, policy makers, developers, and students.

About the design:

In alignment with the overarching theme of play, we wanted to show the value of play in a creative process. Our design aimed to transform the book into an interactive object, casting readers in the role of active players. Deliberate design choices, such as the inversion of cover images and horizontally symmetrical title placements, were implemented on the book covers. This design intrigues curiosity, prompting readers to engage physically with the book and explore alternative visual perspectives. The front cover features a modern touch with an image of Virtual Reality, while the back cover showcases a little girl playing with a ball. This indicates a beautiful connection between analog play and modern games.

The incorporation of a perforation system on the book covers introduces an additional layer of interactivity. Through this system, readers can unveil the subtitle of the book, cleverly concealed within a maze of flying letters on the title page. This design principle extends to the chapter dividers, where hidden messages await discovery. The playful typography and concealed messages are interwoven throughout the book, creating a visual flow that unites all the layered design elements together. A particularly noteworthy feature is a tiny, flipped animation situated on the right margin of Part 2, transforming this section into a functional flip book. This design element serves as a nostalgic homage to the simple joy of play, inviting readers to recapture the boundless imagination of childhood.

The open spine allows the book to be widely opened, ensuring no visual elements are missed. Displaying the book title and the publisher's logo on the open spine is a bold design choice, as it requires precision in binding the 19 sections of the inner pages to create the visuals. Despite the risks, we are committed to perfection. The publisher, designers, and the author eagerly take this risk to achieve the finest details for ‘Role of Play’.


Ben Schouten & Menno Deen

Project Management
Ben Schouten, Andrea Mologni, Eleonoor Jap Sam

Research Team
Ben Schouten, Gabriele Ferri, Menno Deen, Andrea Mologni

Ed van Hinte, Part 2,Level 1
Mees Drissen, Play with History, Part 2/Level 5
Boost Raessens, SpaceBuzz, Part 2/Level 6
Troy Innocent, Kummargi Yulendj, Part 2/Level 6
Bambi Boland, Beatriz Ibeas, Genèviéve Korte, Ondrej Kocholaty, Minicipality, Part 1/Playful Empowerment
Chris Gruijters & Gijs Houdijk, BABABA, Part 2/Level 2
Martijn Korsm A Breathtaking Journey, Part 2/Level 6

Graphic Design & Cover Design, Illustrations, Lithography
Studio Renate Boere

Graphius Group

Jap Sam Books


This publication was generously supported by
Creative Industries Fund NL
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology
Dutch Research Council

Studio Renate Boere / Abraham van Beyerenstraat 4 / 2525 TG Den Haag / +31(0)70 2167612 / +31(0)6 24525557 /