Why to Bring Virtual Reality Into the Design Process

Why to Bring Virtual Reality Into the Design Process

Imagine months before a big event, you could walk through your booth and see how the colors reflect your brand, the display invites interaction and the signage captures attention. With virtual reality, you can do all of this and more. 

The Pros 

Whether a client needs to plan an entire conference or a single booth, using virtual reality during the design process will help them visualize the venue and address potential problems, saving both time and money. 

Visualize the venue. VR provides a unique experience that 2D renderings cannot deliver. According to Christopher Fry, a partner at Pulse Studio, “With VR, event planners visualize what events will look like. This allows planners to see the best locations for branding, signage and sponsor locations.” In addition, clients can see what general sessions will look like, complete with moving lights and screens.

Save time. VR design planning gives clients the opportunity to see every aspect of the design before it goes into production. As Fry says, “Clients can view booth designs from every angle.” According to Lauren Smith, senior production designer with Bellwether, “VR allows clients to play with multiple design options at the same time and troubleshoot problems like sightlines. This minimizes revisions.”

Save money. Because VR puts the client inside the design long before anything is built, it improves communication, reduces misunderstandings and saves money. Smith said, “You can give someone the most realistic 2D rendering, but it's only one view. VR avoids expensive on-site surprises.” 

Win clients. Decision-makers are wowed by the ability of VR to visualize their events. Plus, it’s exciting for clients to work with professionals who are on the cutting edge of new technology. 

The Myths 

Companies regularly use VR to engage conference attendees. But few have embraced using VR in the design process. Several myths may prevent designers from embracing this new technology. 

High learning curve. Many designers worry that learning how to design with VR will be too complicated. According to Smith, “VR seems fancy but it’s just like any other tech out there. Popular gaming engine Unity has made it easy for 3D designers to start working in VR. There are also many free tutorials available.”

Time-consuming. Designers may think that adding VR to their established design process will take too much time. But once a designer creates a successful VR experience, they can use it as a template for future projects. Smith adds, “VR scenes render in real time, which is a huge time and money saver compared to the process of traditional animations via a render farm.”

Expensive equipment. VR requires software and hardware to work, and the initial expense can seem daunting. But there are lower-cost options available. Lauren Smith recommends working with an Oculus Go headset. She said, “It’s the best value and very user-friendly.”