In June 2020, WePlay! Esports hosted its very first publisher-affiliated Counter-Strike: World Offensive occasion, WePlay! Clutch Island. Whereas the competitors happened on-line on account of COVID-19 restrictions, the printed was performed in a studio atmosphere with a well-recognized roster of commentators, analysts and – in fact – WePlay! Esports’ distinctive set design.
As soon as WePlay! Clutch Island completed, we spoke with Ivan Rogovchenko, Chief Design Officer at WePlay! Esports, concerning the event operator’s method to design, and the way precisely the idea behind this occasion got here to fruition.
Credit score: WePlay! Esports
Esports Insider: WePlay! Esports’ levels and general designs units it far other than all different main event organisers. How lengthy has WePlay! Esports specialised on this?
Ivan Rogovchenko: WePlay! Esports has a protracted historical past ranging from 2012. It was a small firm whose staff primarily consisted of esports fanatics, however the relaunch on the finish of winter 2018 has modified lots in how we function. Since that point, we’ve been looking for efficient methods to have interaction with the viewers. Our objective is to cowl esports occasions by way of the entire present ecosystem, however to do it following a singular method.
After we have been planning to host our first event, Reshuffle Insanity in September 2018, we aimed to make an unforgettable first impression. We had the assets, a freshly redesigned studio, a media platform, and profitable previous tasks in 2016 with big prize funds underneath our belt.
So, we couldn’t simply make one other esports occasion. How did we plan to differentiate ourselves from opponents? To start with, we centered on the primary wants and needs of our audience: nice visible content material and thrilling storytelling. These two pillars make up our visible communication technique. The manufacturing staff, headed by Maksym Bilonogov, the Common Producer at WePlay! Esports, is answerable for storytelling – and the design staff that I lead is engaged on the visible half. Our artwork director works carefully with the manufacturing staff to implement the concepts we pitch and the entire staff ultimately influences how WePlay! Esports engages with the viewers, new and potential companions, or groups.
ESI: Are you able to share some particulars concerning the design course of that goes into making these levels and tales behind the occasions themselves? Is that this all carried out in-house, or is any a part of the method from inception to execution outsourced?
IR: We attempt to do every little thing in-house, and that’s our precept. All options for infrastructure, the event platform, model id, and different design options are developed by our workers. This precept permits us to be versatile and quick in making and implementing choices, and creating a visible communications design technique. We are able to additionally experiment with out being afraid to make errors as a result of we rent individuals who match our company tradition whereas adjusting our technique to them.
As regards to our employees, now we have a number of groups working collectively each day. The manufacturing staff develops a event thought from a storytelling perspective. The communications design staff makes use of this concept and plot to develop branding, a event id, the so-called key visuals for promoting, communications, and different duties. The title staff creates the graphics that viewers see on-air similar to statistics, participant comparisons, actions, or the heads-up show – a background interface in Counter-Strike we showcased at WePlay! Clutch Island.
In terms of the design course of, there are lots of strategies that we use, so I’ll skip this half. Nevertheless, an important is that we normally attempt to mix issues one received’t count on to see collectively. For instance, we used a fluffy brand for the WePlay! Dota 2 Valentine Insanity occasion, in addition to a mix of closed neighborhood and basic historical past on the WePlay! Pushka League Dota 2 occasion – the latter of which, to me, is essentially the most environment friendly branding we’ve ever carried out for tournaments.
Credit score: WePlay! Esports
ESI: It appears possible that quite a lot of design ideas are thought up and thrown away when looking for the right answer. Are you able to consider any tough ratio of profitable, closing designs that attain the general public to the full variety of drafts and concepts which are thought up by WePlay! Esports’ design staff?
IR: In graphic design, the idea behind the used image is essential – and I’ll inform you what – upon getting a strong concept that’s primarily based on nice visible storytelling, the visible part you get is a results of work by expert specialists. We spend quite a lot of time to elaborate on any idea. Normally, we go along with the third or fourth answer because it has options to develop an amazing product: forethought, nice thought, and visible presentation. So, our staff may do many iterations earlier than creating the ultimate design. We’ve got a joke for such conditions known as a “12-hour branding.”
When making ready for WeSave! Charity Play, an occasion that aimed to fight the unfold of coronavirus, Vitalii Ivanenko, Head of Design at WePlay! Esports, and I got here up with the idea at 6pm. We wished to get the design prepared by the morning to have the ability to ship groups their invitations as shortly as attainable. The following workday, the artwork director smacked all our concepts and drafts down. She developed a brand new idea herself inside two hours, and that was the emblem that everybody noticed on the printed.
ESI: There should be a giant staff behind such daring design tasks. Might you share what sort of assets – whether or not they be time, folks, or monetary funds – are put in the direction of the planning and supply of such distinctive designs?
IR: Since we design every little thing in-house, our staff is large and consists of numerous roles. 3D and movement designers are working within the manufacturing staff headed by Common Producer Maksym Bilonogov. The remainder of the specialists are from my division, they usually symbolize two essential disciplines: visible communication and interplay design.
The Artwork Director leads the visible communication design staff. These guys develop ideas for tournaments, promoting campaigns, particular tasks, and handle design requirements. Apart from that, the staff consists of folks working solely on banners and advert visuals for advertising and marketing communication, and people doing social media design – graphics one can see on Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, and our web site. The inventive staff develops an id for tournaments and general branding.
Product designers, UX designers, UX copywriters, and researchers work on our digital merchandise: media, occasions, and event platforms, in addition to different merchandise with which WePlay! Esports’ viewers interacts. So, that’s our interplay design staff. Designers within the titles staff create all graphics that viewers can see on Twitch throughout a broadcast.
A number of different groups additionally assist us do the job. For instance, the shopper expertise staff is answerable for suggestions assortment, consumer development, and extra analysis. This staff helps us perceive our customers’ wants and needs so we will act upon them. We’ve not too long ago established a branding staff that manages inner communications, develops our model guide – particularly the WePlay! Esports model – and elaborates touchpoints.
ESI: Clutch Island was your first CS:GO event to be formally affiliated with Valve. Do you imagine that WePlay Esports’ distinctive designs have been a giant issue of their choice?
IR: I feel that the well-developed idea we offered within the software to Valve, together with different enterprise parts, may have influenced their choice. We have been elaborating on each element when engaged on the idea. Finally, we applied all of the proposed parts in that software: an occasion format and a design idea for WePlay! Clutch Island.
Did we cooperate with Valve? No. Our manufacturing and design groups did the entire process themselves. In my view, once we emphasise visible parts and storytelling, we permit the design to play its half, which is to draw consumer consideration and evoke wanted feelings.
We’re going to dig deeper into this course and develop new merchandise. We’ll do every little thing we will to maintain your dopamine ranges excessive throughout tournaments, as a result of now we have many concepts and surprises for you in retailer!
Learn different interviews and options in Version 6 of The Esports Journal.