As generative avatar/PFP NFTs have become more of an established format in the past few years, many patterns have emerged—some good, some bad. In this article we will rank 8 trait-based trends and share what we'd like to see more (and less) of in the future. For the record, this is by no means an exhaustive list, just some trends we've identified and wanted to comment on.
Yep, we're starting this list with a callout. We don't love it when NFT projects "borrow" intellectual property for their traits. It's one thing if a project uses parody or changes something substantive about the source material (we do this for a trait or two), but for us these examples are a little too on the nose. We also know these traits aren't coincidence because the Pudgy Penguin's glasses are called "Squad", a reference to the Squirtle Squad, and the Lazy Lion's hat is called "Party Hat", referring to the infamous blue partyhat from Runescape.
We're not trying to single out these two collections (there are plenty of examples of traits like these), nor are we saying these collections are bad for having these traits—they have plenty of redeeming qualities. We just think the NFT space could benefit from a bit more originality.
We think everybody gets the joke at this point. Goblintown.wtf went the extra mile and even has an entire spinoff dedicated to disgusting McDonald's-esque food which clearly takes some inspiration from the Nasty Patty.
Okay, we're done being overly critical. This trend can be divisive, however. We think a successful golden trait comes down to appearance—you should be convinced an NFT is more valuable simply because the gold looks that good. Here are some examples we like.
Really? Yes. We were surprised to discover how widespread straw (and toothpicks) are in generative PFP NFTs. Does anyone hold toothpicks or straw in their mouths anymore? Did they ever? Either way, we like this trait depending on the context.
For a collection like Azuki where the avatars are in shown in profile, often with serious/mysterious expressions, straw works well. And in Invisible Friends, straw is successful because it gives additional context to the invisible face and bounces with the walk animation in a satisfying way. On the other hand, why does World of Women have this trait? It feels very out of place.
Who doesn't love a good beanie? The only downside of beanies is that they sometimes cover cute ears and feathers. Maybe there is a way around this for the future?
Clothing is a crucial trait for any NFT (that wears clothes). And patterns on clothing are a great way to add value and complement more dominant visual elements. We think World of Women's carefully considered patterns are really successful and contribute a lot to their collection (way more than straw does).
3D glasses are everywhere! Similar to straw, they are so ubiquitous in NFTs, yet rarely seen in real life. Because of this, we think 3D glasses have become a classic NFT symbol, appearing in old and new projects alike.
For that reason, we think they should stick around, with one caveat: future projects and artists might consider transforming the glasses to fit the style/theme of their collections. We like Kaiju Kingz's style and how RENGA created a sci-fi adaptation by removing the clunky paper frames.
Was that anticlimactic? Sorry. 🤷 So many iconic collections rely on solid-colored backgrounds to keep the focus on the artwork. Depending on the collection's palette, other colors (and sometimes even subtle patterns) may do a good job, but the classic light or muted blue background is definitely our first choice.
Do you agree with our list? Disagree? Let us hear it on twitter @Frowny_Town!
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