VR & AR: The Next Evolution in Visual Communication Design

VR and AR design illustration with virtual reality headset

With much of the world’s population spending the last year keeping a safe social distance, we’ve sought out more virtual experiences to replace in-person ones. This has accelerated the growth of the virtual reality and augmented reality markets, according to an April report from eMarketer. In fact, 17.7% of the US population will use VR at least once per month in 2021, and that number soars to 28.1% for AR. That means that more companies than ever will make VR and AR design a part of their visual communication and marketing strategies this year. 

Let’s take a look at a few innovative ways your marketing and sales teams can use AR and VR functionality to design more engaging, interactive experiences for customers and potential customers. 

VR & AR Portfolios & Showrooms

VR & AR portfolio illustration with examples of visual communication

For much of the past year and a half, when consumers wanted to buy a new product, going to a store to see it in person wasn’t an option—or, at least, was more of a hassle than it was worth. In the absence of physical showrooms, brands have adopted more creative visual communication solutions in the virtual arena. As a result, audiences have now come to expect online and distanced options for learning more about your products, and VR and AR design have a big role to play in making this possible. 

If you have a physical product to sell, these tools are especially useful. Apps like IKEA Place are already helping potential customers design their lives from a distance by using AR to project difference pieces of furniture into their homes to see whether they’re the right fit. AR is a great option for everything from home goods to clothing to makeup. 

And VR has a role to play, too. If you want to show people how to use your product, deploy a virtual reality world where they can interact with it. Or if your work takes place in virtual spaces, create a VR portfolio that they can explore in a more dynamic way. This empowers them to find what interests them most about what you do, and to move at their own pace. 

AR Design for Conferences & Exhibition Halls

As Americans start to return to work, live events and conferences will be starting up again, too, likely with some online components or in tandem with virtual events. Augmented reality offers plenty of new ways to engage potential customers at these events, whether you’re in a trade show hall or exchanging business cards after a presentation. In fact, the Killer Visual Strategies team designed our own AR-enhanced business cards a few years back when we went to SXSW:

The big advantage of AR design as a visual communication tool at these events is that it’s hands-free. So if you create a booth that’s designed for augmented reality functionality, visitors can scan various parts of your booth with their phone to explore your company’s offerings and capabilities. It’s also a more self-directed way to explore, meaning they can follow the narrative that’s most compelling for them. 

And really, the options are endless. You can incorporate a scavenger hunt into an event you’re running, or even include Pokémon GO integrations. You can design all your signage to be interactive with AR animations that give people key information, let them explore more about particular talks or speakers, or even share their experiences on social media. 

As we ease back into contact, AR is going to prove an essential tool for making meaningful in-person interactions possible. At the same time, it’s an opportunity to show that your organization is always experimenting and learning—a great look for any growing company.

360-Degree Video & VR Design

At Killer, we’re big believers that one piece of visual content has the potential for multiple marketing applications and audience interactions. That’s why we like to find creative ways to repurpose our designs for different applications and contents. 

You can make a recently designed video or motion graphic do double duty by incorporating it into a 360-degree virtual reality experience. There are plenty of ways to approach such a project. You might choose to use clean, engaging animations to surround the viewer while they’re watching the video. Or you can incorporate abstract elements that echo the video itself to make the experience more dynamic, as in this VR design for Ionic Security:

What’s particularly exciting about this type of visual communication is how the video is no longer limited to a four-sided frame: elements of the animation bloom from all sides, and even approach and pass the viewer like bubbles. This makes it just about impossible to look away. 

Another option is to create a whole illustrated scene to surround your audience, as in this 360-degree video:  

The scene creates an ambience, imitating changes in daylight over the course of the video, so that you want to watch it again and again to catch all the small details. 

These are just a few of the ways that AR and VR are revolutionizing how brands interact with their audiences in a post-pandemic world. What strategies have you tried? Share what’s worked for you in the comments below!

Erin McCoy

Author Erin McCoy

Erin McCoy is director of content marketing and public relations at Killer Visual Strategies. She earned her BA in Spanish with minors in French and Russian, and holds 2 master’s degrees from the University of Washington: an MFA in creative writing and an MA in Hispanic literature. She has won nearly 2 dozen awards in photojournalism, and has dedicated those skills to boosting Killer’s brand recognition and thought leadership in visual communication. Since Erin took on her marketing/PR role, Killer has been named a member of the Inc. 5000 for 4 years in a row; has been featured in such publications as Inc., Forbes, Mashable, and the Huffington Post; and has been invited to present at such conferences as SXSW and SMX Advanced.

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