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Getting Into the Nike Experience with Bryon Panaia
Updated 2022-07-10

The Virtual International Design and Creative Masterclass successfully returns the fourth time! Spanning over the course of two consecutive weekends, secondary school students as well as The One Academy students had a lot to learn from global creative experts in the fields of digital animation, advertising, interior design, visual effects and digital media design.

Presenting for the digital media design segment was Bryon Panaia, Senior Creative Director of the Nike Global Brand Experience + Innovation Studio. With over 20 years of diverse experience, he leads the future-forward multidisciplinary creative group to explore new frontiers in technology and innovation, pushing next generation storytelling to new levels and platforms to create Nike-only experiences.

International Design and Creative Masterclass

In his talk titled “Experiential Design & Immersive Storytelling”, he shared his personal journey and some of the philosophies behind the work he does at Nike, where he has been leading and building brand experience for the past 8 years. He began his talk with a quote from Walt Disney, “If you can visualize it, if you can dream it, there’s some way to do it.”

He brings rich narratives to life through immersive experiences that weave the physical and virtual worlds together, through projects and campaigns for the Nike House of Innovation in New York City, Shanghai and Paris, NikeLab X Riccardo Tisci - Victorious Minotaurs, Air Max 97, Lebron 17 ‘Air Unrivalled’, Air Force 1, NBA Basketball and games like NIKELAND on Roblox.

He shares his creative process that goes from strategy (creative concepts) to design (creative development) to execution (creative delivery). “I think it’s really important for everyone as creatives to try to be good at all three of these things, because if you only focus on the design aspect, you might get a brief that you might not understand the ‘why’. The strategy is really the ‘why’, and the design is answering that question and execution is bringing that to life for people.”

International Design and Creative Masterclass

He also explained on brand experience, defining it as “any human experience that creates an emotional connection between a brand and an individual.” He quoted Edgar Dale’s theory of The Cone of Experience, “We remember 10% of what we read, 30% of what we see and 80% of what we experience,” explaining that we are more likely to remember an experience than just reading something from a book. That is the power of experiential design, which is taking a story and bringing it to life for people.

“There’s always a sense of playfulness, humour or a little twist in my works even if we’re talking about something super innovative, intense, hardcore and performance-based, there’s always some fun. I think it’s important because it makes it more human and approachable, and working on it becomes a joyful experience itself,” he said about the makings of a good story.

He highly encourages people who are interested in field of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and extended reality (XR) to actively pursue it because is it going to be a discipline that grows in the future and explode in the next 20 years. He advised the students who are passionate in the digital media space to start building their own website and work on personal projects to encourage themselves towards their goal. It might be a lot of work, but it definitely pays off as recruiters and hirers do look through them.

Lastly, he left the audience with another quote by Walt Disney, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”