2023 Award Winner

Letter Run by Edgar Allan: The good, the bad and the downright frustrating

Edgar Allan | The challenges of developing Letter Run

Curiosity drives inspiration, but it can also… complicate things. Our team here at Edgar Allan learned this the hard way while developing Letter Run: Edgar Allan’s very own digital 3D club house and scavenger hunt.

In case you haven’t played, Letter Run is a little desktop adventure puzzle that combines lots of things we love at EA.

From music to maté to project launches to wild socks, the scavenger hunt is housed in a space defined by the letters of our company name and the passions that we share as a team. The entire experience is built in Three.js and React inside of a user-friendly Webflow shell. 

Coming up with good (or in this case, kind of wild) ideas can be tough. Putting those ideas into action can be even tougher. But when the going gets tough, we as a group tend to band together and combine resources and experience to spark creative problem solving. The result: unexpected (sometimes frustrating) and mostly amazing results. 

Letter Run makes a great case study on the overlap between innovation and frustration.

It all started with a question that, one a year later, we might have regretted asking (a little): What if we made each letter of the Edgar Allan logo into rooms that represent where and how we work? 

“We started playing around and sketches of that world started coming together pretty fast,” said Kendra Rainey, Edgar Allan’s director of brand and content. “It felt like a lot of progress really quickly.”

So, as a follow-up, as is their way, the strategic team asked another question: What is the narrative of this space going to be?

At first we conceived of it as a virtual copy of our beloved physical space, but then we started thinking a little deeper, and asked ourselves, “What if it represented the way we work, how we work, and why we work?” 

“Then we also added some color and it looked fantastic,” adds Kendra. “But after that, we thought, ‘wouldn’t this be awesome if this was 3D?’” So the team started working in Blender and into React within about a week. And the optimism around Letter Run grew until…

With a head full of ideas and hearts full of hope… everything got REALLY hard.

For all the details, watch this video from 2022’s Webflow Conference in which Mason Poe and Kendra Rainey discuss all the pitfalls and hurdles the Edgar Allan team ran into while developing Letter Run, but more importantly, how they solved those problems.

When it comes to Letter Run so many old adages ring true:

Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Hard work pays off.

It always seems impossible until it’s done.

Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.

Yes, all of this can come across as pretty corny but that doesn’t make it any less true. Letter Run is a testament to a lot of things about the team at Edgar Allan — our creativity and skills for sure, but also the less glamorous things, like resilience in the face of frustration and a dedication to just making things work. It’s easy for passion to wane when things get difficult or complicated but we tend to push through. Our advice to you is the same: Curiosity breeds excitement but also hard work. Keep going, even when the going feels like it might kill you. 

Spoiler: We didn’t give up, shove Letter Run in a (virtual) drawer, and bury ourselves in client work. In the end, our work paid off, and Letter Run won Webflow’s 2022 Technical Achievement Award at Webflow Conf. And now, we’re on to the next curious, difficult, gut-wrenching, rewarding thing. Wish us luck. I’m sure we’ll be talking about it soon.

Learn more about all the innovation and problem solving going on at Edgar Allan by visiting our blog. You can also contact Edgar Allan or say hi to us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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