AI Series Part 2: How AI impacted our Work in 3D design
A picture of Lorenz who is the one getting interviewed in this article

Read Time 3 Min



Welcome to a new episode of Asking &why: rethinking benchmarks in design, branding and innovation. In this second episode, we had a chat with Lorenz Meier, our 3D artist and designer with a background in sustainable food. What do food procurement, design, and Artificial Intelligence have in common? Dunno! So let’s find out.

Q: What drew you to a career in design, and how did you end up here?

Honestly, I am kind of a late-bloomer to design. I had a career switch from the food industry only a few years ago, driven by a passion for aesthetically pleasing things. The fear of high entry barriers initially held me back– I felt like I was never good enough to apply for design school, or that it was too late, or too difficult – but then, a desire to contribute to well-designed solutions matched with dissatisfaction with my previous job led me to pursue this path.

Q: Wow! So you were in the food industry before? Is there anything that you brought from there that helped you in your new career?

Yes, my background lies in organic food retail, where my responsibilities ranged from procurement and sales to category management. Working in food management exposed me to the importance of quality awareness. During my time in food management, there was this class called "From Farm to Fork.". I had to check every step, from the start to the finish, to ensure a top-notch product. It’s the same with design. It's all about being aware, staying on the lookout, and figuring out what factors matter for a high-quality result. I started working for &why as an intern, and that journey has been both challenging and rewarding. I delved into 3D design for applications for the first time, doing things I’ve never done before, learning and adapting to new challenges every day.

Working next to young yet experienced designers and technologists played a key role in my development - the culture is great here and we have the opportunity to experiment across teams, so we are always on the lookout for the latest trends to try and learn!

Q: Tell us about one of your favorite projects you worked on!

A: Sure, the project that stands out for me is the #lastseen game. It's an educational tool aimed at students - we imagined this experience as a new, interactive and engaging way to learn about history, going away from the usual frontal lesson we grew up with.

Keeping students and teachers in mind, we had the challenge of creating a game that makes learning about the deportations more interactive while ensuring a dignified experience. We developed a realistic setting inside an old attic populated with clues and pictures from a deportation. The goal was always to encourage the player to find out about the events of the deportation on their own. In cooperation with the #lastseen team, we based the gameplay in today's time: The player would be an investigative journalist uncovering previously unknown images and sources. We consciously avoided historical role-play or history-altering storylines.

Screenshot from the #lastseen game. Here's the attic where you will research about deportations.

Recognizing the neglect of this history, especially among young people, motivated our team to take it on. This project was both rewarding and demanding. It required me to dive into complex 3D design and development, areas I hadn't explored before. However, seeing the positive response from users and our client was a blast - and the project got recently picked up by no less than the Guardian which is flattering.

Q: Generative AI has been a hot topic lately. Why do you think it's causing a buzz, and how do you leverage it in your work? A:

Many people aren't fully aware of what AI tools can do and their worth. It's worth the time to explore and learn about them! Some fear job loss and the capability of AI to take over their job, while others are excited about the efficiency and new creative possibilities it brings.

I’ve seen it as a tool that empowers me to be more efficient and faster and to achieve things I never thought possible, enhancing my overall capabilities. I'm becoming more confident in using tools like GPT and image generators, incorporating them into my daily workflow to tackle problems as they arise.

For example, just yesterday, I had a unique challenge with a complex file in Blender, where the client wanted to launch a second edition of the game we launched a year ago. AI came to the rescue, providing a recap of all the operations, complex tasks, and things that are needed. It helped me streamline my workflow efficiently. At times, AI even generated scripts in Python, making complex tasks easier and significantly speeding up my process. It was truly amazing and incredibly handy!

As a non-coder designer, this unlocks so many opportunities: with minimal knowledge of JavaScript and Python, I can now handle tasks independently, saving a considerable amount of time.

In generating brand images, there was a recent internal project where we had to create a series of images for a customer success template while lacking good images to start with - so we went on to try with image generators - we trained the AI with a bunch of images that match the vibe we wanted.

The generators then learned from this and created new images with the right look and feel.

The results were great, as the AI images were not recognisable, and the budget & time saving aspect were significant, however, we do feel there is a lack of regulation in the market that makes this still a delicate topic.

Some of the major image generators indeed use unlicensed artworks and photography and this opens up relevant questions from a copyright and ethical standpoint - so so far we’ve been very cautious and experimented only with internal projects.

Q: Yeah! I think AI's impact on design is substantial. Now, how do you foresee the future role of designers in this evolving landscape?

I believe there will be less hands-on design and more collaboration with engineering. Back when I started learning design, the advice from professors was to find a niche—specialize in something—like being a 3D designer or motion graphic designer.

However, things have changed. Nowadays, tools allow a single person to handle motion graphics, 3D design, and even coding—something designers couldn't imagine before. The shift is towards having a broad skill set rather than a deep specialization.

What are your thoughts on AI and design? Share your thoughts in the comments or drop us an email at Excited to continue the dialogue! Stay tuned for the next episodes of "Asking &why?" by hitting that subscribe button! 💫