© 2017

Envisioning Holograms

Design Breakthrough Experiences for Mixed Reality


  • Explores the hot, new Mixed Reality technology for business, education, and entertainment

  • Helps you envision and design compelling user experiences

  • Covers Microsoft's state-of-the-art HoloLens


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. A New Frontier

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. M. Pell
      Pages 31-40
    3. M. Pell
      Pages 41-50
    4. M. Pell
      Pages 51-61
  3. Envisioning Holograms

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 63-63
    2. M. Pell
      Pages 65-85
    3. M. Pell
      Pages 87-118
    4. M. Pell
      Pages 119-135
  4. The Envisioning Process

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 137-137
    2. M. Pell
      Pages 139-149
    3. M. Pell
      Pages 151-169
    4. M. Pell
      Pages 171-187
    5. M. Pell
      Pages 189-200
    6. M. Pell
      Pages 201-222
  5. Holographic Designs

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 223-223
    2. M. Pell
      Pages 225-247
    3. M. Pell
      Pages 249-274

About this book


Explore the approach, techniques, and mindshift needed to design truly breakthrough experiences for the Microsoft HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality platform. Learn what’s so different about working with holograms, how to think spatially, and where to start designing your own holographic projects. You’ll move rapidly from initial concept to persuasive prototype—all without the need for expensive tools or a designer’s skill set.
Designing for mixed reality is a completely new experience for everyone involved, and takes some experimentation to get right. You won’t nail your first mixed reality project by relying upon your previous mobile or web design expertise as a guide. Mixed reality requires a different kind of design thinking for its unique challenges. 

Breakthrough holographic design starts with envisioning—the act of visualizing what could be. By rapidly depicting a desired experience and trying out its real-world interactions, you can quickly turn your initial vision into a tangible example of innovative design. Envisioning Holograms digs into why holographic computing is the future, takes you through the mixed reality design process, and gets you ready to take advantage of its endless opportunities. 

What You'll Learn:
  • Understand what makes mixed reality a challenging design space
  • See how envisioning quickly and persuasively brings ideas to life
  • Get to know your audience, medium, and palette
  • Explore several innovative rapid envisioning techniques
  • Identify the key elements of your own holographic experience
  • Design an engaging holographic experience from start to finish


Hologram Experience Design HoloLens Windows Holographic Mixed Reality Augmented Reality Virtual Reality Holographic Stagecraft Illusion Prototyping HoloScenes

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.WoodinvilleUSA

About the authors

M. Pell leads Design for The Microsoft Garage, the company’s outlet for experimental projects and curiosity-fueled exploration. Bold, insightful, and uncompromising, Pell is recognized as a Design thought leader in the field of Holographic Envisioning and next-gen Data Visualization.

As a lifelong Designer/Coder, Pell has consistently been on the leading edge of technology and innovation over his 30-year career. Highlights include creating the first stylized font menu at the dawn of the Macintosh (MenuFonts), working with Pixar to pioneer 3D type generation with RenderMan (TextMan), co-inventing electronic document interchange (Adobe Acrobat), conceptualizing dynamic 3D information (InfoSpaces), developing a rapid design method (Fast Design), and being the inventor on 12 US patents for software.

Pell is a dynamic, passionate presenter on a variety of current design topics. His evolution from intrepid entrepreneur, to VC-backed startup veteran, to corporate man for Adobe and Microsoft has given him a truly unique perspective on combining business, experience, and technology.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
IT & Software


“Just as the pioneering work of E.S. Porter helped define a new language for cinematic storytelling at the dawn of motion pictures, Envisioning Holograms provides us with the missing vocabulary and grammar to help define a new design language for this world-changing medium of Mixed Reality.” (Ori Inbar, Founder and Managing Partner for Super Ventures, an AR/VR fund)

“An exceptional introduction to a new way of thinking about software. Envisioning Holograms is approachable to people just starting out, and also provides some excellent bits of insight to veterans that can help influence their creative process.” (Lucas Rizzotto, award-winning creator of Mixed Reality experiences)

“Envisioning Holograms is the perfect book for VR/AR/MR studios that are struggling with application design. It is filled with strategies to acquire ideas, develop and iterate through scenes, and find the best fit. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to create solid user experiences using 3D interfaces and spatial computing.” (Rick King, authority on the latest trends in AR, VR, and MR development)

“Envisioning Holograms is a guidebook for designing our holographic future. You’ll find the processes, techniques, and production tools needed to design immersive products that will change how we work, play and communicate.” (Tony Parisi, Global Head of AR/VR for Unity. Industry legend)