SpaceX is an American aerospace company, known to the nerd community as “the cool company that makes reusable rockets that land themselves.” You might have noticed that I like space quite a bit, so this was a great choice for my Final Major Project during my Art Foundation.

It began like every other project – thumbnail sketches! Initially, I thought about making producing a short animation promoting their reusable rocket technology, as people were often unaware of the achievements of the company. This was perfectly understandable, as they often remembered the numerous (and dramatic!) failed launches.

Next, I looked into ‘retro space culture’. This was an important step in appreciating where our love for space and science fiction came from. Although a curiosity for what’s ‘out there’ has existed for centuries, I decided to focus on the ‘Space Race’ of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as Kubrick’s classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I then had a look at typography from the 1920s and 1930s. Lots of these stayed in style during the period we now refer to as ‘retro futurism’, hence why they were included in my project.

I produced a test poster based on these styles. The fictional planet that theĀ DragonĀ capsule is orbiting was created with traditional Turkish marbling (Ebru), while the ship itself was drawn by hand from a reference photograph, scanned, then digitally coloured.

Moving away from that style, I wanted to emulate a modern designer’s approach to exploration and adventure. Cue Olly Moss – the guilty pleasure of art and design students. He provided art direction for the popular adventure game Firewatch by Campo Santo. Using this style, I was quickly able to produce similar landscapes to those seen in the Firewatch concept art and game itself.

The advantage of creating this image digitally was that the layers were preserved and could be further manipulated.

In this case, I used Adobe After Effects to represent the layers in 3D space and make a short animation. This was only a test, but inspired me to experiment with 3D.

To cut a long story short, I produced a parallax scrolling website using Adobe Muse to use in an exhibit, informing the general public about SpaceX and to hopefully engage them in the exciting world of space exploration. You can see the overall impression that it had upon the viewer in the video below.

I was pretty chuffed at that point – things were coming together well. I then produced two poster to go with the website: one that welcomed and persuaded viewers of the exhibit why the company was worth learning about, and the other to explain the complicated launch process.

Both of these posters were printed on large format banner paper, and were both around a metre in height. This worked very well in the context of an exhibition, as the introduction should be the thing people see first!