Get the London Look.. with Augmented Reality

This week, we visited Holition who describe themselves as an augmented retail company. They create augmented reality apps for companies that want to use technology to give customers a better experience. 

The augmented reality scene has exploded in recent years with all sorts of companies getting involved, from fashion and beauty to travel and education. By using a smartphone with its inbuilt cameras, accelerometers and gyroscopes, you can point your camera over something and a digital augmentation can be placed on top of what you're seeing. Snapchat have brought automated reality to everyone with their filters that track your face in real-time and apply a digitally created mask. This software creates a mesh of your face and can pinpoint features to detect which parts are moving, it can then overlay a premade design and as you move your face in real life, the design will move too on screen.

 Snapchat manipulates users faces with Augmented Reality.

Snapchat manipulates users faces with Augmented Reality.

Holition have worked with many companies in the beauty space such as Charlotte Tilbury, Covergirl and L’Oreal, using augmented reality to let customers experiment with different make-up looks using their phone. They worked with Rimmel on an app called Get the Look, that lets anyone 'get the London look'. Using your phone's camera you can take a photo of anyone you see, a celebrity or beauty ad and it will work out what make-up they're wearing. Then using the app and augmented reality, you can see how that make up looks on you - in real-time. The app then shows you which Rimmel products to buy to create the look in real life. 

This app is extremely clever as they have used this is new technology in a way that really engages people and makes it easy to buy products. We had the opportunity to try prototypes of the app and see how it really works. I was surprised at how accurate it was and how simple it is for the end user. The accuracy of the augmentation means you feel like you're really wearing the make up so you get a real feel for whether it suits you are not. This accuracy is key as it turns what could've been a gimmick or novelty app into a really powerful tool for potential customers of Rimmel.

 The Get The Look app from Rimmel UK

The Get The Look app from Rimmel UK

From a commercial perspective it will get many more consumers buying Rimmel products as they can digitally test them out on their own face before spending any money. This is one way in which technology has solved a problem and made it easier, cheaper and more engaging for customers to try on make up. And because it is all digital, users can change colours and make up styles with just a few taps letting them try dozens of looks in no time. 

I think as time goes on, we will see more and more of these augmented reality solutions being used by companies to sell products in an engaging way. UNIQLO created a ‘Magic mirror’ which also used augmented reality to let you quickly try on clothes without having to get changed. Augmented reality in the retail sector is still fairly new so as it becomes more and more widely available, it will become a normal occurrence to try on products digitally before you buy. 

As part of my Graphic design communication course, we got to choose a completely separate topic that we would explore for a few weeks. I choose a topic called The Smart City where we explored the technology and innovations that help create modern day and future cities. This post was written specifically for this project.

Adam Marsh