GUNNAR Optiks is at the forefront of enhancing digital screen experiences with cutting-edge technology that protects our visual health through high-level, state-of-the-art glasses. Founded nearly two decades ago by visionaries Jennifer Michelsen and Joe Croft, GUNNAR was born from a mission to combat digital eye strain through innovative eyewear. Their commitment to visual ergonomics, relentless innovation, and striking design has driven them to partner with top brands like Disney, Activision, and Ubisoft.

Today, GUNNAR offers a diverse range of eyewear designed for gaming, computer use, and beyond, all clinically proven to reduce eye strain and improve visual focus. We sat down with Joe, GUNNAR’s CEO, to discuss their new Fallout collection, GUNNAR’s evolution, collaborations with giants like Marvel and Call of Duty, and the technology behind their life-enhancing glasses.

Check out this exclusive Magnetic Magazine interview below.

Joe Croft, GUNNAR’s CEO

How has GUNNAR evolved since its inception in 2003, and what are the core principles driving its mission today?

GUNNAR is continually evolving! We update our technology, our styles, and adapt to new screen tech and advances in visual ergonomics learning. But our mission hasn’t changed. We pioneer cutting edge technologies that enhance the digital screen experience and protect the human visual system. 

We have four core pillars to our brand. Visual Ergonomics, Innovation, Design, and Culture. From day one, we have been committed to making things that provide a real world benefit, but are beautiful and appropriate for digital culture as well.

Can you provide insights into the collaborative process behind the creation of the Fallout Vault 33 glasses with Amazon Studios?

We really love to get into the mindset of any community that will appreciate the collaboration. Luckily, we have a ton of Fallout fans on staff and in our influencer group. So when opportunity came up, we jumped on it hard. The fact that Amazon stayed true to the game backstory made it really easy as we pushed our knowledge of the characters, the environment, and the overall feel into the product. 

Our design team worked with the assets provided for the graphics, but the actual style of glasses was 100% designed by our team. Often there is a back and forth with the collab teams, but we nailed it on the first try. Mostly because we are passionate about the game and knew exactly what the community wanted.

What sets the Fallout Vault 33 glasses apart from other products in GUNNAR’s lineup, in regard to design and technology?

From a GUNNAR technology standpoint, nothing. You get all of GUNNAR’s patented technology in the Fallout Vault 33 glasses, meaning you will be protected from dry eye due to our high coverage, high wrap style. You will experience relaxed eye muscles due to the lens focusing power, and you’ll benefit from blue light reduction with our patented lens tints.

From a design style and look standpoint, the Vault 33 glasses are extremely different from anything we have done before. A retro-futro combo makes them feel straight out of Vault-Tec production. 

With low profile side shields that actually protect eyes from oblique light and air currents, the glasses invoke an industrial feel. The square front profile gives them an educated techy feel and provides ample coverage. The bright blue Vault-Tec case finishes things off with perfect Fallout vibes.


Could you elaborate on GUNNAR’s partnerships with global cinema-based brands like Marvel and popular game franchises like Call Of Duty? How do these partnerships typically come about, and what factors into deciding on each customized glasses edition or theme?

We started this entire category of gaming and computer eyewear almost 20 years ago and have been the global leader ever since. With those deep roots, it has been easy to partner with other brands on synergistic projects and have a lot of fun along the way. We started with Call of Duty more than 10 years ago and have been successful with gaming titles, cinematic titles, hardware manufacturers, tech companies, league organizations, professional eSports teams, and more. 

Each collab is unique and brings a diverse set of personalities, design themes, and marketing strategy. Sometimes they approach us, sometimes we approach them, but we are always looking to stay true to our roots in gaming, tech, and enhancing our customers’ digital life.

How does GUNNAR stay at the forefront of innovation in visual ergonomics and technology, especially in addressing digital eye strain and blue light exposure?

We have been at the forefront of this field for years and continue to push for more knowledge by not only keeping abreast of current research, but participating in it as well. We have funded studies at major optical research facilities, provided eyewear to researchers in the field, and lectured at continuing education seminars for the industry. 

For example, in an independent study, researchers found that radiologists can find more cancer nodules when using GUNNARs to view a digital lung X-ray. In another study of post concussive treatment for athletes, the researchers noted that GUNNARs improve the recovery process, especially when the patient is diagnosed with photophobia symptoms.

When educating eye doctors, we try to be the loudest voices about prescribing task specific eyewear for computer use, since the mis-prescribing of distance eyewear to myopic kids continues to plague our younger generations. We are on a mission to save eyes. Please help us!

What impact do GUNNAR’s glasses have on enhancing visual focus at close range and combating issues such as digital eye strain and dry eyes?

GUNNAR’s patented high-warp geometry provides two major benefits. First, the lenses and frames sit close to and wrap around the face. This blocks out drying air currents and traps in moisture to raise the relative humidity in the eye pocket. We can measure this increase. It is significant. 

The second benefit provided by our patented lens geometry is focusing power. Since eye muscles have to flex when focused on the near distance, that part of the visual system gets stressed over time. GUNNAR lenses actually pre-focus the light before it reaches your eye. Your eye muscles then relax, and you will feel less tired over time.

How does GUNNAR ensure that its glasses cater to a widespread audience, in terms of including men and women glasses, youth glasses, and prescription glasses?

We recently redid our visual branding and put a lot more effort into appealing to a widespread audience. Yo will see a big difference on our website compared to a year ago. We previously had very gamer-centric visual imagery with a heavy, black, aggressive feel that invoked a First-Person-Shooter game vibes. 

I’m a gamer and don’t want to be pigeonholed or blasted with in-your-face marketing, since I know the gaming community is broad and comprised of a wide variety of different interests and genres. Plus, we know that a lot of people who live a digital-centric life do not play games or identify as gamers. 

Our eyewear benefits anyone on a screen more than three hours a day. That’s a lot of people! And we did not want to turn anyone off with our imagery. With the new aesthetic, you will see a great balance of all faces represented in a format that hearkens back to our clean, Scandinavian roots.

Besides the glasses themselves, what additional ways does GUNNAR support and engage with communities that are deeply involved in gaming, music, movies, and other forms of digital media?

We are proud of our GUNNAR Creators that come from all walks of Digital Life. We have photographers, musicians, videographers, coders, developers, cosplayers, gamers, streamers, and more. For that exclusive group, we try to recruit people from all industries, professions, communities, and hobby groups that focus on tech to enhance what they do. 

They are one of the primary ways that we spread the word, through grassroots means, about the benefits of GUNNAR and the need to protect your eyes. For anyone that lives a Digital Life, we are here for you.

Could you shed light on GUNNAR’s approach to design and aesthetics, and how these elements contribute to the overall user experience?

GUNNAR is a Viking name that means “warrior” or “to battle.” We try to reflect those Scandinavian roots in a clean, simplistic, geometric design. I came from almost a decade at Oakley where we could not send out anything, even an invoice, that hadn’t been touched by a designer and given the stamp of approval by the founder.

 We try to run a similarly tight ship, but not quite as constrictive. All that we do is highly designed, highly considered, and highly reviewed. One of the brand pillars found on the About page of our website is the following:

Design – We obsess about design and aesthetics. We care about how it works and how it looks. “Pleasing to the eye” is our mission, both in form and function.

How does GUNNAR integrate feedback from customers and industry professionals into its product development and marketing strategies?

As mentioned previously, we have a robust cadre of GUNNAR creators and regularly plan feedback sessions with them. They tend to be industry experts and have great insight into the next trends or technologies for their respective fields. We also have a regular meeting with our customer service team that includes members of the marketing and product development departments. 

Our advanced analytics CSR platforms help us spot trends in inbound customer communication related to product design, marketing messaging, and ideas about future direction. When it is time for feedback, our goal is to have big ears and a small mouth.

What are your three favorite editions of glasses that GUNNAR has made over the years, and why?

1) The original RPG is a Magnesium-Aluminum high wrap, high coverage design with quadruple spring hinges. It is innovative, comfortable, durable, and looks great.

2) Anything with our patented screwless hinge. We have done tons of variations of it throughout the years, but check out the Sheadog and the Vayper in our current lineup. FYI, the screwless hinge eliminates one of the weak spots on the frame and makes things clean and elegant.

3) The Arbor collection – I am personally biased toward the Humboldt with the Clear Pro lens because I love photography and the true color rendition of the Clear Pro helps a ton. With sustainably harvested wood laminated to a carbon fiber core, the collection represents a perfect fusion of tech and nature.

What plans does GUNNAR have for future collaborations or product releases, particularly in expanding its portfolio beyond computer and gaming glasses? Are there any upcoming projects you can hint at?

We are very committed to the area of visual ergonomics and the way the human eye interfaces with technology. There are some super secret smart projects we are working on, but we cannot give much more than a hint.  


As GUNNAR continues to grow globally, what are the company’s goals and aspirations for the future, and how do you envision its role in shaping the digital screen and eyewear experience?

We have so much education to do surrounding our core product that we hope, in the short term, to stem the tide of negative effects of computer screen use. The US population has become 65% more myopic since the advent of the personal computer. Those are epidemic proportions!

We would love to thwart that attack and curb that visual onslaught in the next few years. Over the course of time, we will be one of the architects of the merge of machine and man, especially when it comes to the human visual system. So many cool things are coming for the future, whether in VR, AR, or implanatables, and GUNNAR will be there to help you upgrade your digital life.


The post [INTERVIEW] Where Glasses, Gaming, & Cinema Collide: GUNNAR’s CEO, Joe Croft, Dives Into The Future Of Eyewear appeared first on Magnetic Magazine.