MA Final Major Project

Autumn 2015

The ethos of the MA Branding course is focused around designing through insight. By this I mean that what we as designers (more importantly for brand designers) create should come from a truth, it is then our job to interpret and communicate that visually and succinctly.

My final project focused upon the little know Overview Effect, however the previous six months had been spent researching (both text and visual) the much broarder field of study of space travel.

The Overview Effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit, in transit between the Earth and the moon or from the lunar surface."

The experience is supposed to akin to that of what a Buddhist monk feels upon reaching enlightenment. Some claim to have had an overwelming experience of euphoria for many weeks after the event, others have explained how they now feel their own personal connect to the world or universe.

This juxtaposition of two often opposion concepts - space travel, which is so firmly rooted in science and enlightenment, which belongs to the realm of Gods and spirituality - really interested me and seemed like an interesting point of difference to which to create a brand within.

The guidelines from traditional Buddhist statues over-layed on the space shuttle identified an interesting visual cross over of the space and spirituality.

The following are highlights of the visual research that determined the look and feel of my final brand and its accompanying output.

Exploring space / spirituality with the use of black / gold paint dripped of religious-esque statues.

Adding the concept of 'cognitive shift' to the statue images.

Using the same method but applying it to type.

A visual experiment exploring the notion of connectedness. Using twine on paper, each 'point' is connected to one and other.

A selection of long-exposure photographs exploring light to illustrate 'the infinite black'.

It was at this point when I realised light is the best tool to communicate both space and spirituality together. In spirituality light has played a monumental role in religious art, architecture and rituals. Conversely, in space, it can be used as a contrast to the darkness that is space.

Thus the majority of the final section of visual experiements focused on light.

Another attempt at tryin the visualise the ownership of physical light.

Left: an attempt to physicalise light by giving it some packaging - the LED would turn on when the box was opened.
Right: a digital rendering of the initial concept.

Another attempt at tryin the visualise the ownership of physical light.

The mountain top effect (a sensation apparently similar to the Overview Effect, although on a much smaller scale) - here I have bought the physicalised light to this effect.

The brand I created for this project was called 'O'. The name of the brand stems from three areas, firtly the 'Overview Effect' to which I have taken the first letter. Secondly, the circular shape of the letter lends itself well to the predominantly circular shapes that exist within space (think planets, stars, moons, orbits etc). And thirdly, the pronouciation of 'O' is one the dennotes understanding or realisation, something which is a core element to the Overview Effect and subsequently, the brand I produced.

Although branding ≠ logo, it is still a crucial part in the brand identificatio factor.

Berlingske Serif from Play Type was chosen as the typeface for the logo. Although the upper-case 'O' has the ideal shape, it was the 'r' that initially attracted me to this font.

The angle of the Earth determined the form of the logo.

The brand itself was an added-value company that enables its clientelle to reach spiritual enlightenment through the catalyst that is spaceflight. It believes that its clientele are more than just tourists, they are travellers on a spiritual journey, and 'O' offers them a chance to read a conclusion to that journey.

The target demographic for this brand was not set to arbitary standards such as sex, age or income, but instead to personal goals and values which would enable to brand to trandscend these categories. The audience identified were the 'spiritually compelled' and the 'curious adventurer'.

This alinged itself well with the brands core values which included 'discovery, fullfillment and truth.

The graphic language for the brand stemmed from the visual research I conducted into the notion of light and the idea of communicating discovery. I decided that wherever possible the surrounding lighting should be used to 'discover' the visual material. Finishing methods such as spot UV, embossing / debossing and heaving spot inks were to be used to catch the light or cast a shadow.

The visual language for O expressed in a letterhead, business card and an envelope.

A mockup of a print advertisement with the type and logo set as a Spot UV.

A mockup of how the brand identity could be replicated in moving image - here show as adverts on the London Underground.

The hand in requirements asked us to submit a 5,000 - 7,000 word research report presented in a designed, bound book format (three of these had to be made) along with a visual research summary, this being a collection of all of the primary research we had done over the past 4 months.

My research report consisted of two parts, the accademic essay which critically looked at the Overview Effect and its relevance to space travel and spirituallity today - this was printed on the smaller silver pages.

Complementing the essay were highlights from my visual research with my personal analysis captioning them. The combination of page sizes and stocks created a duality, which was an important area in my field of study.

The font covers of the research report (left) and the visual summary (right) were blind-debosse on a rubber textured book cloth.

The design consisted of two different page sizes, on two different paper stocks - Peregrina Majestic and Mohawk Everyday Digital.

Plike - A rubber coated stock was used for title pages. The Spot UV effect is infact omnicrom.

A page detailing the rational behind the logo design.

The final section of the hand in required us to produce an 'output' to communicate the brand. This could take any form with some people opting for a book or series of books, others doing posters while the rare few, myself included, attempt to communicate the brand and its values in an abstract form.

For my output I created I a big, black ball. Within this 180mm diameter object were a series of super-bright LED lights which turn on when the ball is picked up.

The ball was shown in a presentation box that consisted of a raised pyramid shaped platform for the ball which was walled by 'flaps' on each side. This was coated in a black rubber-feel material on the outer sides and a luxurious velvet like material on the inner. The lid was made of the same compositions and has a blind-debossed logo on two of the opposite sides.

The box lid for the output.

The final outcome as pictured from above.

The 'ball' sitting in its box.

Small graphics laser engraved to the inside were designed to anchor it in the brands values and to encourage people to pick it up.

The brand I had developed hinged around the concept of discovery, and as such my final output had to create that essence of spiritual discovery in the audience when they interact with it.

In order to achieve this, the black paint used to coat the ball was infact thermochromatic (heat sensitive) that would go translusent when touched by someone.

A video showing the final output in use.

I am pleased to say that I achieved a distinction (90%+) for this project.

If you would like more information on this project, feel free to get in touch.