Nerding out on purposeful design

15 October 2021


‘Web and mobile solutions tailor-made for esports business’ might sound like a broad remit, and that’s because it is — but a broad remit is exactly what’s needed for purposeful design.

Purposeful design, a design discipline that blends form and function to offer meaning, is transcending into the esports space. You’ll find the above slogan prominently positioned on the animated website of 27 Nerds, an esports solutions agency. 

The company’s team of (you guessed it) 27+ in-house experts handle everything from esports consulting to UI/UX design, software development, in-game data parsing, broadcast and streaming solutions.

An ambitious undertaking, to be sure, but the company didn’t adopt a wide scope for no reason. In esports’ diverse industry, 27 Nerds has positioned itself as an all-rounder because of the firm’s belief in the utility of handling full-cycle development.

Image credit: 27 Nerds

“All of us are interested in esports but have a huge amount of experience in different fields, and that diversity creates more opportunity,” explained Marko Pazyniak, Lead Designer at 27 Nerds.

“If we had only one direction, we could only do one job. And usually when you’re doing one type of job, you may be an expert in that field – but when there are other branches involved, a lack of experience in each of those [provides] poor opportunity to develop really good products. 

“We involve lots of people in the development of our work, and that’s our strong side – that we have a really big range of skills that can be combined.”  

Nataliia Korobchenko, 27 Nerds’s Head of Marketing, also highlighted why a holistic approach to project development is a key bonus: “Sometimes esports companies understand what they want, but they don’t see how to do it, and they have to search for different specialists to outsource.

“We create turnkey products. There’s no need to search for different companies for each part of the project. It is much easier to create one project with one company and one team instead of searching and connecting different teams.

“We understand that if we share our expertise, we can offer all steps of the cycle for developing products, so it will be easier for our client and they can be sure they will get a finished product.”

Image credit: 27 Nerds

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27 Nerds’s recent collaboration between HellRaisers and Mazda, for example, included everything from customised branding resources to a bespoke website, 3D-modelled mobile and web videos for social media, fan quizzes, giveaways — including a Mazda test drive — alongside detailed analytics and statistics about the performance of the project.

According to the company, a holistic, in-house approach certainly improves efficiency, streamlining multifaceted development projects to get the design done. However, there’s another distinct benefit to handling everything in one place: improving purposeful design.

As esports firms look for interesting, authentic and effective ways of engaging with audiences, good design is increasingly being embraced as essential. However, esports oftentimes still lacks purposeful design and intelligent planning that blends both utility and aesthetics.

“When I started working in esports, I saw a lot of things that could be improved,” Pazyniak explained. “It was missing effective products for statistical analysis and other things that could be useful not only for the players but also for viewers, tournament organisers, bettors and other stakeholders.”

Image credit: 27 Nerds

“It was missing products that could create something new for esports. There was a lack of experience and case studies in UI. [Companies] were using very simple solutions to deliver their experiences.”

One of the things 27 Nerds does differently, according to Korobchenko, is deliver value by focusing on the importance of purposeful design for esports firms. “In esports, companies sort of work at random, there’s a lack of standard in the industry. Our goal is to create a new standard for esports solutions, to help companies get really good products they can trust.

“We have a strong dedicated team of artists and designers, who first hand came to know of the design issues esports businesses face today. We realize the importance of setting businesses on the right track early on.”

Through its holistic approach, 27 Nerds’s designs account for pain points and troubles that might otherwise be missed, Pazyniak said.

“It’s always good to get an outside point of view because usually, when companies are developing big projects, they are focused on the biggest issues they have, and they cannot pay attention to small things. But UX, for example, is about the small things and how everything connects,” he added.

“So we think out of the box. We take some of the decisions from the design of the gaming industry, some of the decisions from the sports industry, and we mix that, because if you look for answers purely in esports you won’t get them.”

Image credit: 27 Nerds

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Purposeful design is especially important in esports. Void of the physical geographic attachments of traditional sports teams, esports organisations have to find new ways to develop unique personalities to connect with fandoms. 

Pazyniak said: “We all know Christiano Ronaldo and Messi and what they look like. In esports, pros are sitting mostly behind their computers and people are engaged by what’s happening on screens. They usually don’t pay much attention to the players.

“We position the players as legends and move focus towards the players. We can make cool roster announcements, cool videos involving the team. I think this is having a great impact on the industry.”

Pazyniak and Korobchenko both claim that 27 Nerds is driven by a desire to professionalise the industry through purposeful design.

“It’s our priority to understand the needs of those in esports, and to make their brands more remarkable,” Korobchenko concluded. “We want to take esports to the next level, visually.”

Supported by 27 Nerds.

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