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Verizon 5G - Harmony of Craft

For the launch of Verizon 5G Home Internet, Verizon knew they needed a series of instructional videos as elevated as the product itself. (5G is the future of home internet, after all!) So they turned to Hornet. And with the tandem talents of Hornet Directors Relay Studio and Hornet CD Eric Lane, we turned the humble how-to on its head—combining beautiful photoreal CG with clean considered 2D graphics to create a self-setup guide both easy on the eye and incredibly easy to use.

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The videos—available through the My Verizon App—were designed to help customers install the new 5G Gateway devices on their own in just a few steps. User-experience was always top of mind. No unnecessary elements were included purely for the sake of design or animation. Every visual was oriented toward utility. The goal—and the result—was a design aesthetic geared toward maximum clarity.

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Product Outside

Relay Studio are directors renowned for their effortless, eye-catching visuals and profound knack for directing attention to the stuff that matters most. Their technical expertise is second to none. But it’s their use of 2D graphics, not just to accentuate but to elevate entirely, that really made them perfect for this job.

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CD Eric Lane’s background in spatial design and architecture, combined with his extensive expertise as a CG lead and VFX supervisor, made him almost eerily suited for this project—where all of the home environments were designed & rendered in CG.

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All of the home environments across each of the digital explainer films were done in CG. The product shots? Rendered in CG. The goal of this was to design a virtual space that could be owned by Verizon and also provide a great framework for contextualizing the product.

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In a way, designing the home in CG turned Verizon into an architectural client of sorts. We collaborated to create a happy middle ground between a minimalist space that let the demo do the work and a warm, lived-in space that felt engaging and familiar. Paired with the occasional live action shot, the CG home served as the perfect backdrop to let the instructional aspects of the videos pull through. There’s nothing abstract or overly illustrative. What you see is what you get. This type of relatable setting was the crucial first step to ensuring a successful walkthrough for the user.

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“The cool thing about the campaign was the ability to craft something that’s unique to Hornet and specific to each of our talents. With my architectural & CG background and Relay’s 2D expertise, we were able to create actual architecture and marry it with a visual language that worked seamlessly with Verizon’s language.”

- Eric Lane


If the CG environments were the symphony ensemble, the 2D graphics served as the composer with the baton. Their main objective was to guide the user through each step of self-setup within the App. To do so, Relay Studio integrated a series of thoughtful designs and simple yet bold graphical animations to bring the 3D renderings to life. 


From the onset of the project, Relay worked closely with the Verizon Dev Team to develop storyboards and scripts about how the devices work—all with a keen eye toward user experience. The result was a virtual instruction manual almost deceptively simple. At first glance, you only notice the utility, the fact that you’re never left with any further questions about how the product works. Upon further inspection, however, you begin to appreciate the understated elegance of the design. The 2D graphics interact with the products in a tactical and functional way and infuse the videos with a visual brand-language that looks and feels distinctly Verizon.

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“We set out to create a direct and easy-to-understand user-experience by combining beautifully rendered product shots and clean 2D graphics. Adding intuitive and soothing movements to each one of the guiding elements made the directional steps much more approachable.”

- Relay Studio


In addition to the CG & 2D hybrid instructionals, we also enlisted the talents of live action director Daniel Fries to bring the same polished look & feel to the live action arena. The goal was to mirror the tone of the digital design by building a set with similarly clean, bright, and warm lived-in qualities. The three-walled set was subsequently constructed in a week and a half, and then shot at a stage in Brooklyn, adhering to COVID protocols. Another creative challenge we solved was finding the perfect spokesperson—someone who could instantly capture the instructional aspect of the videos yet do so in an upbeat, natural, and charming way. 

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The result of all this—the marriage of tone across mediums, the intentional set design, the dialed performance of the Verizon personality—contributed to the full-circle nature of the 360 campaign.

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Hornet and Relay also developed an AR toolkit to demonstrate the visual language of the in-app user experience for the Verizon Dev team. Adhering to the established language of motion throughout the campaign, Hornet and Relay created multiple designs and production iterations, expanding how the AR experience would work within the app.

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Instructional videos are content categories easy to overlook as inherently dull and dry. Our goal with this project was to avoid that pitfall. We wanted to elevate this type of content and infuse it with warmth and care. We knew we had a uniquely poised team to do it. And the result—in addition to the 360 nature of it—is sleek, sophisticated, and thoroughly representative of the values of our studio.