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