Responses by Hjörtur Hilmarsson, chief executive officer; Aline Kesting, creative director; and David Lindkvist, creative technology director, 14islands.
Background: Pluto is a spatial communication service that allows people to connect, communicate and collaborate virtually, regardless of physical location. Pluto is all about pushing extended reality (XR) technology forward, and its team wanted a site to showcase spatial possibilities on the web today. The idea was a spatial-first brand and website to showcase its vision and attract people in the XR space to its team.
Design core: The story we wanted to tell with the site is how the world turns more magically in immersive XR. When users hover over 2-D items on the site, they pop up as physical 3-D objects. When viewing the site in VR, it turns into 3-D, and users can view it from all angles and interact as they would with objects in the physical world. When viewing the site in AR, the site’s content becomes part of the user’s physical surroundings. It’s a new, innovative approach to web design.
What’s interesting about designing for XR is to take inspiration from both technology and real-world experiences. We drew from real-life iconic gadgets like Game Boys, fidget spinners and Rubik’s Cubes for the Pluto branding, and we created textures with motion principles that enable people to experience the brand in new ways. It’s like consuming content in an interactive museum exhibition, but with an additional magic layer.
Process: To accomplish such a forward-thinking experience with today’s technology, our designers and developers had to collaborate intimately throughout the process. We built prototypes to test out concepts and made sure every design was practically possible to build. It was a big learning experience on how to approach projects for extended reality. It challenged us to understand the opportunities and limitations of XR design and technology today.