Marvel is doing pretty well for itself lately. Its stable of superhero films keeps growing year by year, its TV shows Daredevil and Jessica Jones have been well received, and the universe connecting all of these properties together doesn't show any signs of getting weaker. The success its bigger names like Iron Man and Avengers have enjoyed wouldn't exist without looking as cutting edge as they do, though, and a small design firm in New York deserves a fair chunk of that credit. Perception is a visual design and experience company that's designed some of the futuristic-looking technology we see characters playing around with and prides itself on creating "the next realm of user experiences."
So what exactly does that mean? Well, not only does Perception's team design sleek, impossibly advanced looking technology that makes its way into films, but it also works with leading tech companies to bring those innovations to reality. As its site points out, these two specialties inform each other, and a "detailed understanding of these two areas, and the space between them defines Perception's unique position in defining next generation tech and beyond." That means it lives in the enviable intersection between tech and film, enabling movies to draw inspiration from real technology and tech companies to pull ideas from futuristic films.
Most notable of Perception's work in the Marvel Universe are the various gadgets and dynamic interfaces Tony Stark makes use of in the Iron Man and Avengers films. A billionaire playboy who also happens to be incredibly smart and gifted, Stark's inventions are far ahead of what we play with today, but their physical manifestation on screen takes a lot from how we behave with the devices we do currently have access to. They're supposed to be futuristic, sure, but also intuitive — just as concerned with human interaction as a real-life product.
Perception's focus on that human aspect of its movie designs are what sets it apart from other motion graphics companies, and why it also works with real tech companies to envision the UI for devices we actually will see one day. For example, Samsung incorporated some of the ideas it worked on with Perception into its TouchWiz interface, and Microsoft enlisted the company's work into coming up with augmented reality concepts for HoloLens. It's also working on interfaces that will be a part of future tech-heavy cars from Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. Not a bad résumé.
The kind of attention Perception has seen from tech companies on top of the film-TV industry is impressive because it signals a heavier emphasis on user interface and design than ever before. With a crowded field of competitors when it comes to user-facing products such as smartphones, laptops, and wearable devices, a key differentiator has become the look and feel of a product. As technology moves closer and closer to our physical bodies, the way we interact with it becomes more and more crucial for our decision to adapt it into our lives. We're far from the days of living completely separate from technology and Perception is a design firm that understands that better than most.