Background: “Personal branding is all about you, and it is subject to change because it evolves as you evolve,” says Sofia Papadopoulou. “When we’re talking about digital branding, your website plays the most important role, as this is how you present yourself to the world, where the storytelling and the magic happens, and where all the assets of your identity work together. It is the core of your digital existence. So my new portfolio website is the very core of a series of implementations and experiments with VR, AR, generative art and sound design, which will all be part of my personal rebranding.
“As it had been three years since I released my first personal branding as a freelancer, it was time to come up with a new identity that represents who I am and what I do today,” Papadopoulou continues. “The challenge, though, is that I’m always looking towards the future, so I needed to combine where I am now with where I want to be in the near future: the immersive-experiential space. My target audience is startups with character who are bold enough to embrace a brand identity or website designed to leave a mark. I also hope to captivate agencies in and around the digital and immersive space that I would be more than happy to collaborate with on a freelance basis. Or if the right opportunity came, a full-time collaboration would definitely be on the table.”
Design core: “I am inspired by the known and the unknown space and everything that comes with it,” says Papadopoulou. “This inspiration was brought to life through my favorite features of the website: The star cursor lightening up the background was inspired by space. The main key visual unfolding on scroll—with thanks to Yannis for the idea of unfolding—was inspired by extraterrestrial matter and living organisms in outer space. The white burst at the end of the website represents my optimism; I do believe in a bright, digital future, but as a species, we need to go through darkness—in far too many aspects—to get there. The dark part of the website represents space exploration, and the white part, our rehabilitation to Poseidon (most probably!)”
Favorite details: “I’m very proud of the sound design,” says Papadopoulou. “Sound is the next big thing in branding, as we are moving to an era of voice-activated experiences, let alone the fact that sound activates memories and evokes emotions even more than vision does. I do regard sound as being one of the most important parts of the website, and I need to thank WNLAB for its incredible work bringing out the emotions I wanted to bring—and even going beyond that!”
Challenges: “On my end, not being able to give a very specific direction regarding the main background visual—which is something I’m used to as an art director,” says Papadopoulou. “I knew I wanted it to be generative. I knew the feelings that I wanted to bring out. I was definitely able to explain the concept of the whole website and the role that the visual would play. But since I’m not 100 percent familiar with the technology yet, I had to rely on my collaborators—Yannis, in this case—to turn my vision into reality. You need to know your tools in order to give specific direction, and I’m still in the learning process of generative graphics.
“What I learned, though, is that when you don’t give a very specific direction and you’re working with incredibly talented people, it gives them the opportunity to express themselves,” Papadopoulou continues. “It unleashes their creativity. The result might blow your mind away, which is what happened in this case!”
Time constraints: “There are some features that both me and Yannis would like to add or work a bit more on,” says Papadopoulou. “We intend to do that at some point. New features will be added to enhance the experience along the way.”
Technology: “The website was built in WordPress, using webpack for the build process and Vagrant for the development environment,” says Yannis Yannakopoulos. “It uses the three.js library for the WebGL part, and GSAP for all the animations.”