Anyone who follows esports has surely seen DLC Studios’ creative work. It would be hard to miss, given its laundry list of clients that includes the likes of Ubisoft, ESL, Red Bull, MSI, and more, not to mention an array of services including graphic design and brand consultation, photography, video creation, and event production.
DLC Studios was initially formed as an offshoot of UK esports organisation MnM Gaming. Brothers Kalvin and Daniel Chung realised that creating content was one of their biggest strengths within the team, and so decided to co-found DLC Studios with Sammy Lam and Rhys Rasmussen to help spread those talents far and wide across the industry.
Since then, the agency has amassed an extensive portfolio of projects, including branding for Red Bull events such as World First and Sphere Wars, a Rainbow Six esports documentary titled “MNM: An Underdog Story” for Ubisoft, branding for UK based university esports organiser The NUEL, event content work for ESL and MSI, the rebrand of the WFH League, the list goes on and on.
According to Kalvin, DLC Studios’ work showcases their care and understanding of esports, and represents the diverse interests and backgrounds of the entire team. “We care a lot and we show that we care in our work, and we’re always self-critical,” he told The Esports Journal, Esports Insider’s sister brand. “We have a diverse group of people from Asia, all across Europe, and South Africa, and everyone has different influences and perspectives.”
When it comes to event production, Daniel suggests that the team’s true value comes from ensuring that clients can achieve their objectives even amidst any obstacles at hand.
“Our expertise comes into the more technical stuff,” he explained. “A lot of what we do during those moments is problem-solving. When given limitations on resources in terms of time or space, it can require a lot of creative technical thinking from our side to deliver what they want within the constraints we are given.”
Like the rest of the esports industry, DLC Studios was thrown a curveball with the COVID-19 pandemic, which largely eliminated live events and in-person activations. While that had been a big part of the team’s workload prior to lockdown restrictions, DLC Studios shifted gears to double down on content creation and branding, and has since grown its team during this time despite the resulting economic challenges.
“There are no events and we’ve gone from travelling and doing a lot of event coverage to refocusing on creating graphical work, whether it’s logos or illustrations for our clients,” said Daniel. “There’s been a lot of adapting to situations, but it’s highlighted our strengths and made us very adaptable to the situation. There are some effects from the pandemic, but it’s given us time to refocus our work into different areas that we might not have had as much time to focus on before.”
One such project is the recent second-season redesign of WFH League, a corporate esports competition initiative from Esports Insider and London-based esports and gaming bar Platform. DLC Studios worked to develop stronger visual branding and messaging for the initiative, delivering a look that is playful but still professional, inviting and welcoming to all. Kalvin said that he recognised the potential for the league to help companies understand esports.
“I wanted to sit somewhere in between corporate and quite playful. I didn’t want it to be too playful, as its target audience are people in business who want to play games. I didn’t want to lose either market, so the task was: How do we merge the corporate world and game world into one?” he said. “When we built that world, the graphical language represented a lot of things like diversity and different games and age groups, so we combined lots of areas of gaming digitally into one. That’s how we started to merge the worlds together.”
“Esports is very on-topic right now and can be difficult for people to understand who aren’t in the space. Maybe WFH League is the bridge for corporate groups to understand the space by them competing in the tournament,” he continued. “It’s a good way to understand the esports space, because a lot of companies are trying to get into it.”
Even more so than traditional sports leagues, esports provides such a persistent opportunity for content creation, which is where an agency like DLC Studios can be such a crucial partner to firms. Sammy says that the standard for quality content and branding continues to be raised in the industry, and likewise, DLC Studios continues to up its game to deliver for clients.
“Over time, esports design has improved a lot. We’re seeing many designers being more experimental,” he said. “With the bigger organisations, you can really start to see their brand show through their design. There was a time where newly-created organisations would have very similar logos and visuals. Now, there’s a lot of individuality and a lot of different styles, and there’s such a constant stream of content to take inspiration from.”
Read the full version of this article in Edition 7 of The Esports Journal.