How Digital Fabrication is Transforming Brand Experiences

How Digital Fabrication is Transforming Brand Experiences
by Noah Twining / July 10, 2023

As the battle to capture consumer attention grows increasingly intense, companies are turning to digital fabrication to elevate their brand experiences through creative pop-ups, event activations, and sponsorships. Others are investing in one-of-a-kind immersive retail interiors that convey the brand’s aesthetic and values through spatial storytelling. All of it amounts to an unforgettable experience for consumers and a creative opportunity for brands, thanks to modern digital fabrication. 

In this article, we’ll explore the nuts and bolts of digital fabrication, including the types of materials that can be used, and explore how this modern approach to design and fabrication is redefining what’s possible when it comes to creating unique brand experiences.


Before you start a CNC project...

What is Digital Fabrication?

Digital fabrication is the creation of 3D assets from computer-aided software designs using a digital tool - such as a CNC (computer numerical control) machine. The key distinction between digital vs. analog fabrication is the workflow. With digital fabrication, design, modeling, and producing are data-driven so there is very little human interaction with the asset being created until the assembly and finishing stages. Everything up to that point is accomplished with computers. In analog or manual fabrication, design and production are all done by hand. Think pencil sketches and hand carving or building. 

What Methods Are Used in Digital Fabrication?

CAD (computer-aided design) files, 3D scanners, and CNC machines are the darlings of digital fabrication. CAD software allows designers to create highly detailed drawings that CNC machines can then read, and use as instructions to create whatever form is desired. 3D scanners allow fabricators to create a CAD file from an existing object, in order to replicate it precisely to scale and CNC machines utilize two processes – additive and subtractive – to create the forms. 

Additive production is building up a material to create a form - the most common tool for this is a 3D printer, while subtractive processes take a block of material such as wood or foam and carve out the excess to create the desired shape. It’s not uncommon to use both additive and subtractive processes in a single project to create the desired result. 

Digital Fabrication and Brand Experiences

Brands benefit from the speed, precision, consistency, and versatility of digital fabrication, from a single pop-up retail activation to a custom branded object required in large quantities for a major event, like these lockers for McDonald’s All-American Games.  


The technology offers nearly limitless potential for creating custom spaces, one-of-a-kind events, and unique customer touch points. Plus, the vast variety of materials and methods makes creating something tailored to your needs, location and end-use more accessible than ever before. Need an oversized sculpture for the courtyard of a children’s museum? No problem. How about a giant flower that doubles as a chair? All good.


Digital fabrication technology’s ability to replicate and scale via 3D scanning and rendering also invites brands to think big. This custom-fabricated dragon for a casino restaurant was created from a smaller block model and some inspiration images and scaled up to become a 16’ long, 2600 lb sculpture, complete with glowing eyes. 

It’s not an overstatement that modern digital fabrication’s potential is nearly limitless. After all, 3D-printed rockets and houses are already in the news. For brands, this technology presents an engaging and creative way to knock the socks off your audience. CAMP Stores bring joy to kids who get to climb a popcorn wall, The Graduate Hotel evokes nostalgia with an oversized Oregon Duck pull toy in the lobby, and Jimmy Dean delights hungry cyclists with its biscuit & sausage pop-up

How Will You Leverage Digital Fabrication for Your Next Brand Experience? 

Working with a single, all-inclusive digital fabrication partner can help your project come to life seamlessly. At Bridgewater, we have brought the entire process under one roof - from strategy and design development to 3D rendering, fabrication, finishing, and delivery. We control the entire process from ideation to installation. Book a free, no-pressure introduction to Bridgewater Studio today to learn how we can help bring your next great concept to life. You’ll walk away with a customized plan, no strings attached.




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