Star Atlas

An immersive metaverse gaming experience

Star Atlas is an AAA space exploration strategy game and blockchain-driven virtual metaverse. The highly anticipated game has epic graphics, compelling lore, and a forward looking blockchain-based economic model including Play-to-Earn and other DeFi features.
 
The brand is set to revolutionize the future of gaming, entertainment and beyond. Creative studio Hello Monday (part of DEPT®) partnered with the Star Atlas team to build an immersive digital experience to create excitement around the game’s launch.

A portal to the future

Star Atlas, set in the 27th century, combines everything a sci-fi gamer’s heart desires; it’s about space exploration, territorial conquest, and political domination. The teaser homepage features a galactic portal that pulls users right into the Star Atlas metaverse. The color palette is colorful and light to move away from the traditionally dark and moody sci-fi aesthetic to help Star Atlas stand out in the world of sci-fi gaming.

Galactic navigation

The navigation structure is inspired by the solar system. Hello Monday (part of DEPT®) worked to develop a motion approach and iconography style that felt unique and reflects the Star Atlas brand.

Users can easily download the Star Atlas whitepaper, sign up for more information or click “play now” to visit the marketplace, where they can view the game leaderboard and buy and sell resources and services both in and outside the game. This combination of blockchain based in-game currencies and a fully decentralized, non-fungible token (NFT) asset ownership makes Star Atlas a truly innovative game.

Visualizing the metaverse

Users can scroll through various chapters that introduce the game lore, and interact with 3D visualizations of spaceships and planets inspired by the Star Atlas world.

The 3D visuals are rendered as point clouds, a set of data points in space,  alluding to stars in the universe. They needed to be recognizable and visually appealing while staying abstract to help tease for the upcoming game aesthetic. To achieve this look, the Hello Monday team wrote a custom WebGL point cloud shader that gives the illusion of a depth-of-field effect while staying very performant.

The 3D models are made from projecting light rays onto the surface of actual game models, and pre-processed in a custom compression pipeline based on Draco, an open-source library for compressing and decompressing 3D geometric meshes and point clouds.

Star Atlas is among the most talked-about Play-to-earn games. We were excited to help bring the digital experience to life and try to make it just as forward-thinking as the game itself.

Anders Jessen, Founding Partner, Hello Monday

The stars aligned for Star Atlas

The unique immersive digital experience Hello Monday (part of DEPT®) created for the launch of Star Atlas received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both the Star Atlas community and different award juries around the world:

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Founding Partner, HELLO MONDAY/DEPT®

Anders Jessen

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SPIN

Supporting NFT commerce at scale

SPIN’s iconic covers have been a collector’s item since the magazine’s first issue in 1985. In today’s digital world, fans are looking to collect these pieces of culture in a new way–via NFTs. 

SPIN partnered with DEPT® to create a carbon-neutral NFT marketplace to sell, auction, and re-sell their covers and other art assets. In doing so, SPIN became the first major music media brand to make its full content archive available with NFTs. 

New opportunities for engaging with music fans 

SPIN owns 36 years of iconic photography, covers, videos, and other rare media.

These assets have been appreciated and valued by magazine subscribers for decades. But like many publishers experimenting with NFTs, SPIN realized that they could extend the value of their storied intellectual property to even more fans through digital collectibles.

Working with DEPT®, SPIN set out to make its limited-edition covers and other memorabilia available for digital ownership, giving fans the opportunity to own a piece of art symbolizing their favorite musicians.

The company hoped to continually release fresh NFTs on a regular basis to fuel regular engagement with images, collector packs and unreleased content.

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Removing the barrier to entry for newcomers 

SPIN’s NFT marketplace is to make its full content archive available with NFTs. 

SPIN’s NFT marketplace was built with Algomart, an open-source platform on the Algorand blockchain created by DEPT®. Because blockchain technologies are still very new, the complexities and required expertise make starting from scratch with NFTs extremely difficult and costly.

Algomart gives SPIN an out-of-the-box solution that makes it easier for them to enter the market, and have the control to make a bespoke offering with a tech stack that can scale as their marketplace grows. 

And, using Algomart, end-users can purchase or bid on SPIN NFTs without converting USD to crypto. In this way, it feels a bit like a typical eCommerce store. The marketplace automatically creates a wallet on behalf of its users and a custodial wallet. This makes it easier for users since they don’t have to manage additional accounts or download a new application. Instead, they have a pin number that grants them access to their NFT. 

Perhaps most importantly, it was very important to the team at SPIN to be able to accelerate the sustainable advancement of the NFT space. Working with Algorand gives SPIN an ESG friendly and energy-efficient technology to launch their NFT marketplace.

This will both unlock the enormous value of these assets and do so in a more environmentally sustainable way.  

Being able to launch an NFT storefront quickly and easily allowed SPIN to experiment with NFTs without devoting too many resources to its creation. Having tested the market, they can now continue to release NFTs to their devoted fanbase.  

It’s an easy entry point for fans to begin to collect scarce digital photography and memorabilia while providing artists a way into the space

Jimmy Hutcheson, CEO of SPIN

Launched at SXSW 2022

SPIN unveiled its NFT marketplace at SXSW 2022, with an inaugural auction featuring a Machine Gun Kelly cover. Additional covers, as well as art pieces, will be placed up for auction over the course of 2022.

Down the line, SPIN hopes to provide unique value-added experiences for NFT owners like physical art galleries, events, and experiential installations. Over time, the NFT marketplace will expand to feature a selection of artists and personalities curated by SPIN.

“We’re excited to introduce these famous pieces as NFTs.

“It’s an easy entry point for fans to begin to collect scarce and coveted digital photography and memorabilia while providing artists a way into the space,” said Jimmy Hutcheson, CEO of SPIN.

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Spotify

Music + Talk by Spotify – revitalizing the world of podcasting

The popularity of podcasts has grown exponentially in recent years. However, due to licensing laws, adding music to audio content remains challenging.

Thanks to Music + Talk by Spotify, these issues are now a thing of the past.

Over 60 million songs at your fingertips

Creators are now free to combine tracks from Spotify with their own talk segments using Anchor – a free app for creating and distributing podcasts.

The result is a new genre of audio show, Music + Talk. Studio Dumbar (part of Dept) was selected to create the visual identity for this pioneering brand.

Strategy

Spotify’s goal with Music + Talk is to break into the global podcast market, while simultaneously reinvigorating and revolutionizing the way content is created and delivered. The new brand had to communicate this aspirational energy while sitting comfortably alongside the Spotify and Anchor brands. The look and feel had to be flexible, easy to work with, and strong enough to attract the podcasting world’s leading lights – as well as the next generation of talent.

Design

Working closely with Spotify and sister agency, Byte (part of Dept), Studio Dumbar created a vibrant brand with motion at its core. The word-mark communicates the product’s purpose with crystal clarity. The shapes containing the words Music + Talk add personality while providing a foundation for the broader visual identity. In motion, the shapes stretch and contract, expressing the pulsing energy of sound while creating a larger family of shapes, from which patterns are made. Cropped, rotated, and set in different color combinations, these patterns give the identity its flexibility and character – a foundation that remains instantly recognizable, even when the mark itself isn’t in use. An integral part of the identity is its sound logo: a short, memorable jingle create to clearly identify all video and audio-only content generated for the Music + Talk format.

Result

The identity will continue to roll out as fresh content is made and distributed via Music + Talk. Extensive brand guidelines have been provided, with every design asset easily accessible online. This ensures a consistent and coherent identity whatever the manifestation, and wherever in the world a designer might be.

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Van Gogh Museum

Step into the extraordinary

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More and more individuals are shifting towards digital channels to accomplish any and everything. Seeing this shift, the Van Gogh Museum understood that it needed to elevate its digital presence and ensure it was accessible to everyone. So they asked DEPT® to turn their existing website into a work of art.

Designing a new website worthy of Van Gogh’s art

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The Approach

The iconic Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, dedicated to displaying the works of Vincent van Gogh, is one of the most important museums in the Netherlands. With over 200 paintings, 400 drawings, and 700 letters by the artist, it’s the largest Van Gogh collection in the world. To meet the demands of the digital world, the museum has partnered with DEPT® for the last two years. Together, we have created a new visual identity for the museum and developed the Unravel Van Gogh mobile app. But it was time to take it up a notch and design a new website worthy of Van Gogh’s art.

When you think of Van Gogh, colourful sceneries come to mind. So this was our starting point. We wanted the website to resonate with the user and leave an impression while, at the same time, being modest and simple in appearance. So, to kick off our design process, we started with an analysis which would enable us to make concrete recommendations for the museum’s future website. We researched the user journey and delved into any challenges they may face while browsing the current website, paying special attention to any difficulties those with a disability may encounter. 

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Behind the brushstrokes


To ensure the content stood out and that the design did not compete with the work of Van Gogh or other work featured on the website but instead complimented it, we kept the design clean and minimalistic, giving it a timeless feel. We embraced the museum’s new identity, which was designed by Studio Dumbar (part of Dept) in 2018, by using similar colours and typography. We assigned each page to a different colour which was adapted to the work of art displayed on it, a feat rarely done amongst the white backgrounds of various museum websites. We also implemented subtle interaction animations and transitions to make the website feel light and engage the user. 

The museum website not only aims to inspire and entice visitors but also educate and delight them. However, the old story format didn’t promote users to read the content in its entirety.  So we updated the website’s story format by simplifying the layout while making it more snappy and interactive as the user scrolls down. This made the articles more appealing to read, especially for users coming from social channels. It also enabled editors to create and post content in a much quicker fashion.

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Revealing the details of Van Gogh’s paintings digitally

The museum’s new website embarks in a voyage of discovery and inspiration, helping guide art lovers to the world of Vincent van Gogh. Ensuring users all around the world are inspired by how Van Gogh influenced art’s history and can connect with the museum in a desirable digital manner.

Experience the website

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UX Design & Research Lead

Franklin Schamhart

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Studio Dumbar

Creating the largest motion design festival

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Imagine being surrounded by motion designs in all shapes, colours and sizes. One mesmerising artwork after another is showcased on various screens captivating you, making you lose track of time. This is what happened in Amsterdam Central Station in November 2019. The screens which normally provide commercial messages to passersby’s showcased experimental and stimulating motion design. Studio Dumbar (part of Dept) and Exterion Media collaborated to create and organise Design in Motion (DEMO) festival which showcased the best motion designs from both national and international designers across all 80 screens for a period of 24 hours.

The largest design in motion festival

Nowadays, our society becomes more visually and technologically oriented. Interaction and communication between people and brands are predominantly digital and screen-based. That’s why motion is so important, it’s a fuse of design and technology that still has room for growth. Motion has the potential to enhance brands and digital experiences. DEMO festival aimed to put a spotlight on an underexposed yet increasingly important aspect of graphic design: motion. It offered this new art form a stage with access to a large audience where diverse designers could show their work, be inspired by others and build their network. The result was the largest design motion festival which took over all 80 screens at Amsterdam Central Station for 24 hours. The program changed every hour creating an ever-changing motion experience. 


Amsterdam central station became a moving work of art

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Selecting from thousands

Studio Dumbar advertised an open call to designers globally to submit their work. This resulted in 2,738 submissions. The team proceeded to analyse every entry based on its concept, technical innovation and whether the design-challenged the current parameters of the media. It took them five rounds (18 hours per round) to narrow down which motion designs would be shown. The final selection included 400 creations by 253 designers from 37 countries. Based on the chosen designs, eleven themes were created such as ‘Happy Hour’, ‘Better than Real’, ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Type Only’ which were shown throughout the day on all platforms, in the passages and the central hall. The themes were alternated with ‘takeovers’ during which the motion work of one designer is shown simultaneously across all 80 screens. 

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From train station to exhibition space

The day of the exhibition, people showed up from around the world to be amazed and inspired by the various motion designs displayed. During the day, tours were held in addition to multiple free public lectures about all things design and motion. DEMO festival transformed Amsterdam’s main train station into one large moving work of art and inspired, intrigued and created a lasting experience for everyone. By showcasing thought-provoking and inspiring designs, this festival redefined out-of-home advertising by showing a new way of broadcasting information. 

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Creative Director

Liza Enebeis

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Primephonic

Using Facebook to reignite the global passion for classical music

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The world is undergoing a digital revolution, but classical music has been left behind and, as such, is facing a decline in popularity. However, Primephonic  refuses to accept this negative trend. The music streaming platform is translating the classical music experience into a digital one. Together, we developed a full-funnel media strategy using Facebook to reignite a worldwide passion for the music genre.

Using Facebook to reignite a worldwide passion for classical music

A not so classical Facebook campaign

The dutch-american startup was founded by a team of classical music lovers who aim to address the unmet needs of classical music lovers worldwide. From streaming music to discovering background information, the app enables music lovers to listen to more diverse music in a more enriching way. to reach a wider audience, the company approached DEPT®. We developed and implemented a global full-funnel approach on facebook that harnesses the power of data to tailor and personalise the message a user receives.

Catering to a non-linear customer journey

The goal of the campaign was to raise Primephonic’s brand awareness and encourage users to try the app for fourteen days for free. However, like for many companies, the customer journey for Primephonic is not linear. Therefore, when devising a campaign strategy, we realised that it too could not follow strict and specific stages. Instead, our always-on campaign included different KPI’s and ad types per phase, to ensure we reached users in a way that would entice them the most.

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Using data to drive the customer journey

We took a data-driven approach when developing Primephonic’s campaign strategy to ensure the brand’s message evolved with the customer journey. So, after targeting users with music-related interests, those that show interest are encouraged to try the app via a free ten-day trial. Depending on the user’s behaviour they might either get two free trials in a row or prompted to start a subscription. Thus enabling Primephonic to tailor its communication.

Partnering with classical celebrities

Numerous classical music artists she Primephonic’s vision and are eager to help the company bring classical music into the digital era. as a result, together with Primephonic, we partnered with known artists such as pavarotti, the new york philharmonic and atlanta symphony orchestra to co-create facebook campaigns. Meaning, we were able to advertise on the artist’s page and give their followers a customised discount code. In addition, we used their follower information to further hone in on the correct target audience.

Maximising the impact of every dollar spent

Throughout this project, we continuously made improvements and gathered learnings along the way which ensured that the Strategy Only grew stronger as we progressed. As our messaging became more and more personal and the app continued to develop, Primephonic saw a large increase in volume and a decrease in cost per action as shown below:

  • 18% decrease in cost per app install
  • 48% decrease in cost per trial
  • 44% decrease in cost per subscription

Together, we elevated the company’s social media presence by harnessing the power of creativity and data to reach the right people with the right message. Ensuring that classical music lovers around the world know that there is a platform for them.

Questions?

Social Advertising Consultant

Vincent Mosmans

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Aaron Wegmann

Hear it, see it and feel it.

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Swiss musician Aaron Wegmann released his 2020 album, «Pancha», along with a fascinating web experience. At the heart of the digital presence is an online media player that generates a unique clip every time a song is played; an audio-visual journey that never existed before and never will again. Aaronwegmann.ch shows its own kind of real live moments.

Internet meets songwriting

A web project for a musician holds the potential for ideas and solutions that go beyond the scope of standard band websites. For guitarist and singer-songwriter Aaron Wegmann, we created a digital spectacle that is based on the internet itself and, at the same time, has an inner relationship to Aaron’s songwriting.


Dive in and discover the endless dance between sounds, words and visuals

Sounds inspire words inspire images

Aaron’s way of writing songs is intuitive; when he plays a riff on his guitar and spontaneously sings words that fit well, he often creates a new song. The website designed by DEPT® reflects this process on a technical level. The clips add a visual dimension of their own to the music; a fascinating world of images, whose source are the lyrics of the songs.

A web application for a unique experience

Following our concept, freelancer Joris Noordermeer built the website using different frameworks based on JavaScript. The web application is connected to several photo-sharing platforms where it starts search queries for each word of the lyrics. Single images are randomly selected out of the search results and displayed in the browser, synchronized to Aaron’s vocals. The dance of words and visuals starts anew every time and never repeats.

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Experience the website

Hear it, see it, feel it

‘Randomness’ as a design principle and the use of visual material from almost infinite sources is reminiscent of Pop Art, Dadaism and Surrealism. Diving into the flow of the clips, one can find a new way to access Aaron’s music. Thus the website for «Pancha»​ becomes an essential element of his artist branding.

Questions?

Partner

Michael Hinderling

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Guinness World of Records

Transformation to set new records

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Everyone knows Guinness World Records™, the universally recognised authority on record-breaking achievement. For over 60 years, people across the globe have been enthralled by an ever-increasing number of record challenges and achievements. Maybe you’ve tried to break an ever-existing record before?

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Transformation and centralisation

To give you an impression, the organisation currently has over 40,000 records in their database and continues to receive 1,000 new applications every week from 174 countries, with over 6,000 records being approved annually. As such, the business was keen to improve efficiencies and centralise its record management operations, which was the reason DEPT® entered the game.

The business objective was clear. Transforming the processes for creating and managing records, by using a centralised tool to speed up customer response times, drive predictable results and improve the accuracy and re-use of information. This is why we recommended a centralised content management hub that would go beyond simply managing records. A system that would meet Guinness World Records’ record management objectives and also enable accessibility of all the stored information to be used across its digital touchpoints is what we proposed.

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A centralised content management hub and accessibility of all stored information

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Results

This implementation had multiple benefits. It improved workflow processes by providing a centralised view of records, including the workflow stage and engagement history.

By moving to a digital solution, the organisation reduced its paper mountain, whilst ensuring consistency in both process and communication. The technical solution’s ability to repurpose content has increased digital marketing opportunities and enabled the easy creation of microsites. All the content stored within the system acts as a blueprint for the printed book and can be sent directly to the publisher. The content management system and website redesign have enabled localised content for the organisation’s global users.

To recap, the project has seen the organisation undergo a digital transformation. DEPT® has helped Guinness World Records to improve its offline processes and revolutionised the way it tackles record and content management.

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Managing Director UK

Brian Robinson

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