February 11, 2022
Over the past few years, there have been a lot of emerging technologies such as Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and, NFTs. One that has particularly piqued my interest was the introduction of the Metaverse (VR): A digital world, in which you can recreate yourself, go to work, buy land, build a house, watch a concert, complete quests and make new friends. All without leaving the comfort of your own home.
My first thoughts / impression of these digital worlds were that they look and feel pretty similar to video games such as World of Warcraft or Red Dead Redemption (albeit not cowboys and indians). You can walk around the space, play games to unlock new clothing, interact with objects, talk to strangers and learn more about the world that has been created. At the beginning I couldn’t understand what all the hype was about? But since then, the more I have researched, and the more I understand, the more I think it is going to change the ways we function in society.
Some of the technological developments that are taking place in this space are astounding. Things such as bodysuits that can allow you to feel a breeze and simulate being wet (think ready player one) through to digitised fragrances (like Futuramas ‘smell-o-vision’). Finding out about these has only made me more curious, especially about the commercial impact this could have on the world (and quite selfishly about how it could affect dooka)
The ability to create entire spaces or worlds in 3D that customers / clients can be in and interact with is incredibly exciting. With a background in product design I can remember wishing that instead of showing a portfolio, how incredible it would be to have a digital room where you could display all the products you have designed. That isn't a day dream anymore, it's a very realistic potential.
For the past two years we have been building brands and experiences for customers, through brand identities, websites and physical activations. As exciting as building out a digital identity and consolidated brand can be, you are currently limited by how a customer can interact with the brand (website, social media, catalogue etc) or simply put, someone looking at and interacting with a 2D screen. The metaverse can (and I think will) completely change that.
Within these digital spaces you can build entire worlds, that don’t have to be limited to a webpage, or even the laws of physics. Infinite possibilities that don’t have to adhere to the constructs or paradigms that this ‘real’ world has. It’s taking blue sky thinking to the next level / world / verse.
Design studios and branding agencies often talk about building holistic brand experiences, but with the metaverse, brands can literally create fully immersive experiences. Let’s take Redbull for example:
If they could build a brand world, what would that look like? What are the most extreme sports you could imagine being possible in this world? Then take away gravity and add dragons. Want some wings? Here you go have fun flying with red bull airways. The possibilities for creative thinking are endless.
As a trained 3D designer who has spent the last two years building brand experiences, understanding how to communicate what makes a brand unique and the best way to communicate that message to the outside world. This completely changes the game and allows me to combine my two passions in design: 3D and brand.
As much as the possibilities of this excite me as a designer, it does also raise a few concerns of this technology (socially speaking). When you can live in a world of infinite possibilities, what would make you return to reality? If you can build and create anything and everything you have ever imagined, what more do you want? Are we starting to live out Wall-E?
We have seen it with social media and how it has the power to be all consuming, with people glued to their phones, ignorant to the world that is happening around them. However I do believe that these technologies have the potential to bring so much good into the world. The introduction of Blockchain, Web3, Cryptocurrencies and VR, is going to change how we connect, design, interact, play, build and function as a society and we (the creators) have the responsibility to ensure these are positive changes.