Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Notes On Visuality

Walking round Fashion City today, I noticed a few shops where the designers both got their look and products right, as well as where a couple of them got it very wrong.

It got me to thinking about 'visuality' and how it both positively and negatively effects your brand and image and ultimately sales.

As a designer, I know how arduous the process is to create high quality items for purchase. With Xstreet/Marketplace, it's very easy to buy templates and kits that take much of the grunt work out of it, but in these instances, not even that can guarantee a quality product.

Second Life is a visual environment. Everything about it is based on what we see and interact with. If you're in business, learning how to produce the desired effect--tempting a customer to buy--is a fine art. It is a skill that every designer needs to acquire or that will be the end of their dreams and ambitions of earning Lindens.

And this attention to detail, does not just mean designing fashion in SL that looks like it can jump off the screen and walk away, it means taking care with the presentation of your store, your vendor posters and your BRAND.

Some do's:

1) Before you begin preparing a store... go look around. See what people are doing... get to know who is the BEST and how they do things. I am not suggesting copying their style, but knowing how the best in the game are doing things, helps you to define your OWN style and approach as well as helps you to gain an appreciation for the level of detail in their work.

2) Research the sims you place stores on. If the sim has a theme, or a particular clientele, it's pointless putting items there that won't appeal to a soul who visits.

3) Stay away from gaudy, tawdry, trashy or tasteless in general. You can be raw and risque in your approach, but not tasteless. Why not should seem obvious, but if you're serious about being a designer, this kind of labeling is the death fly of your business. No one will pay attention to you.

4) Even the best quality product, with an eye popping level of detail, will fail the vendor poster test unless you maintain your attention to detail throughout the process. Light your products well in photography. Mask them as cleanly as possible in Photoshop. Construct your vendor poster with the right kind of detail and you WILL tempt buyers and once they buy your product--and love it--they come back. Once they're on the prim, remember to set them to 'full bright' in the texture tab for the prim, so people can see them from afar.

5) Be smart... the object is to earn Lindens. If your first work sucks, keep learning new techniques to improve. Keep working at it. Accept constructive criticism without pride and put customer feedback and satisfaction first.

Keep in mind at all times, that this is a visual world, and spending the extra time to consider the presentation of your work is one of the most rewarding aspects of designing for the Second Life market. When people tell you they love your work, and you know how much time you spent to make your work good, then believe me... the patience you exhibited and attention to your 'level of detail' is what brings you a return on your investment, and ultimately brings you your profit.

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