Creative Directors play a significant part in the success of Web3 projects, as they are responsible for the look and feel of a project and establish an entirely new IP in the process. Web3 culture is still in its infancy and may be regarded as a series of’metas’ or trends, with each popular’meta’ inspiring a legion of imitators.
Over the past two years, the stakes have been steadily raised, with each celebrity endorsement, fashion brand alliance, IRL engagement, and actual product being more extravagant than the last. Attracting and engaging community members with art demands not only a consistent style, but also curation that reflects current cultural developments.
One of the primary roles of Creative Directors is to come up with a visual language that is consistent and works well together. They also have to deal with the short feedback cycles that are typical of Web3. Clon, who is the co-founder and creative director of the popular NFT project Cool Cats, wants the Blue Cat character to live on after he is gone and continue to make a difference in many people’s lives. “As a Creative Director in an emerging and trend-setting Web3 brand, there’s a lot of pressure in bringing the ‘right’ thing to the market. But it boils down to being authentic to myself, the brand, and our community, and to further the audience as a whole.” The Cool Cats team often spends months on new content, and Clon shared that this is because “it’s impossible to put a deadline on inspiration. To find that inspirational spark, you have to experiment and be willing to try out new ideas.” This year, his Cooltopia experience at NFT.NYC, which got a lot of praise, showed how the team’s creative process works.
Shinsei Galverse is another great NFT project. Japanese pop singer Emi Kusano and Creative Director Ayaka Ohira are in charge of it. The ultimate goal of the project is to make an anime that is owned by the community and has Galverse NFTs as its characters. The art style of the Galverse can be described as both nostalgic and futuristic, and Kusano wants to explain to an international audience what anime was like in the 1990s: “for example, the ‘gyaru(gal)’ in the Galverse is a reference to Japanese youth culture, but instead of translating it directly, I sublimate the badass and optimistic aspects of the culture as art.” The duo is also exploring the potential of AI tools in creating reference art. Ohira was inspired by NFT holders who posted their AI-generated Galverse creations in Discord. She said that the digital illustrations fit her vision for the Galverse world so well that she hopes to use AI in the future.
If NFTs are to become valuable avatars or game components, their digital environments must be visually appealing. Characters, accessory items, and virtual city architecture must all be given life during the creative process. Benjamin Tse, the Chief Product Officer of Genopets, explains his creative process in terms of three important steps: first feeling, then thinking, and finally speaking. Specifically, this means that Tse must “introspect, intuit, and empathize with what the customer persona desires and their reason for desiring it,” commit to making the discovery tangible, and then communicate his vision to the creative team. Genopets is renowned for its multi-sensory 3D gaming and video content, which Tse admits is not only “the most effective means of grabbing attention” but also a source of motivation for his team, resulting from “pride of craftsmanship and the desire to share what we’re proud of creating. He explains that although 3D is an expensive gamble, going a dimension above the competition elevates a brand if done properly.
Creating the virtual worlds that will serve as the metaverse’s gathering grounds may be the greatest difficulty a Creative Director must face. Art teams may help onboard more consumers to Web3 by utilizing high-quality artwork and an engaging brand language, while also experimenting with new technologies and design approaches.
David Stamatis, the Creative Director behind PUMA’s most recent New York Fashion Week show and accompanying PUMA BlackStation metaverse, says it best: “for me, what unlocks superpowers in my career is learning new tools and embracing technology that can help level the playing field for creators.”