Being the best at translating ideas into shoes, shirts, jackets and bags is what makes us the most relevant brand to our consumers and being able to do this quicker than any other company is what will shape the consumers’ perception of our brand. If you have ever watched a designer at work, you know that the art of drawing is the gold standard of idea translation. As it stands today, I would say that even with the best software tools available, there is a lot of room for interpretation between drawings.
There is no single tool out there that allows a designer to be creative, iterative, realistic and precise all at the same time. That is changing – and it is happening from inside adidas.
When adidas met 3D
Over the last four years, a small team of creative, technology and systems experts from Design, Brand Operations and IT have banded together to explore the next frontier in translating ideas into real products.
What they discovered is that while 3D software was certainly capable of showcasing ideas with a high level of accuracy and realism, the tools themselves did not match the creative process that designers tend to use for their work. The problem was that the tools weren’t flexible enough to output multiple creative iterations without a lot of extra technical work. As a result, a designer would basically have to press ‘pause’ on the creativity side of their brain in order to input all the necessary technical details to get the 3D images to create presentations or make design decisions. Very few managed to adapt their process to these tools to make them work and that wasn’t sustainable.
The evolution of 3D design
Fast forward a few years and I’d say that things have taken an almost unfathomable leap forward. By working with some of the most cutting-edge software, the team behind Digital Creation has started a small revolution. Each creative season, they have been running pilot programs with the design teams to test and improve the software, tailoring and customizing it to our adidas designers’ way of working. A core group of designers from Running, Football, Tennis, Rugby, Business Unit Graphics and SMSU have embraced the new 3D tools and have been operating in more or less a stealth creative process. Through this, they are able to see a real translation of their ideas in considerably less time than it used to take in the old analogue process. They have also been able to speed up the creation process with development and factories by showing scaled details, accurate patterns, fabric draping – even solving fit problems on screen… and these are just some of the benefits being brought about thanks to the realisation of 3D design.
The future will happen, and it will now happen because of us, not in spite of us and this team is leading that charge.
Stay tuned for more information in the coming months about how the future of design, speed and creativity will come to life for our brand through new 3D tools.