TO THE MOON BRIEF Create an interesting and informative book about the US space program. Use this brief as an opportunity to explore my interest in space exploration, and the science, technology and human achievement involved. The aim of this brief it to provide a printed publication or ‘visual guide’ to an aspect of space exploration, to go into some detail, but more importantly to tell a story. I need to consider the reader of the publication and ensure that there is a strong balance between interesting stories, photography and information.
DELIVERABLES An informative printed publication.
TONE OF VOICE Informative, interested, concise, scientific. Enthusiastic, historical, inspirational.
CONCEPT My concept is to create a publication named ‘To The Moon’, detailing every manned mission of the US space programs race to the moon from Project Mercury to The Apollo Program. This will allow me to explore a smaller section of space exploration in some detail rather than taking a wider look at the subject and not being able to handle all that content. As with most projects its better to take a more focused look at a subject than let an otherwise clear brief get bogged down. I will base what I choose for content and layout off of other books which sit in the ‘visual guide to x’ genre, where photography is balanced with information.
TO THE MOON RESEARCH To begin formulating ideas for the content and layout of the publication I studied a number of books from our college library. These were not all about space exploration and I wasnâ€™t looking for content to copy. The aim of this was to see how other informative books deal with image and text, to try to work out how I would fit my content onto each page. It seemed like a popular practice to allocate one full page to an image and one full page to information and text in a double page spread, occasionally breaking the layout for a DPS image or special content. Another thing that I was interested in looking into further was pull out tabs for user referencing.
TO THE MOON CONTENT The largest and most time consuming aspect of this brief was the collection of images and information to go into the publication. This involved finding an image and information about every Astronaut who flew and every spacecraft launched for every mission of the US manned space program. The vast majority of this information was found using NASAs online database of high resolution images and their mission list. For extra information I also used wikipedia, which often provided more personal information and short stories about each mission which the NASA database had omitted. Having collected the images and data I set about finding solutions of how I could fit this on a page. I chose for each DPS to contain; one high res image taken during the mission, one image of the spacecraft used, the missions patch, a summery of the missions time and parameters, images and info on each astronaut who flew and finally a paragraph summerising the mission itself. Below are some sketches of the different ways I planned on arranging this information with the final plan in the middle and grid on the right.
TO THE MOON COVER AND LAYOUT The design of the cover stylistically depicts the Earth and Moon connected by a tether, representing the main goal of the US space program during that era; to put a man on the moon. This is filled with the image of Armstrong standing on the surface of the Moon for the first time. Crossing this image is the publications title and a short subtitle detailing the contents of the publication. I have also added some icons to the cover to add some balance and symmetry to the design, and illustrating some of the contents of the book. The inner pages follow a strict layout, with each mission taking up one spread. I chose to display the content in this way to make it as easy as possible for the reader to view and find information. All the missions are in chronological order so reading the book and finding a specific mission is remarkably easy. There are also a few special spreads which break the format of the other pages to dedicate a remarkable event, such as the first or last Moon landing. The only other time this layout is broken is for contents pages, found at the beginning of the publication and at the beginning of each section, to detail the mission list and to make any notes.
TO THE MOON PUBLICATION AND PRINT The publication was printed in CMYK and perfect bound in A4 portrait format. One challenge of this brief was preparing the huge number of images for print, a task which certainly paid off as the quality of the images is outstanding especially in terms of colour reproduction. I am also pleased with the quality of the binding, however it is fairly tough to open the publication flat. If I had the opportunity to print this document again I would attempt to bind it in a way that makes the spine less ridged.
TO THE MOON EVALUATION Overall I am pleased with the final result of the publication, however I do consider there to be room for improvement. Firstly the topic it covers is one that I am absolutely fascinated by. I chose to study the US space program for my dissertation and this project was a realisation of much of that research. However, having completed the publication I realise that it would be far more interesting to me to have based this on more recent or future space missions and to have introduced an element of the unknown nature of space exploration with cutting edge science and technology, rather than retelling a story that had been told before. However this option would have neglected the project from the huge database of stunning high res NASA sourced images which make up half the publication. If I had spent more time on this brief I would have liked to have created a dust cover which could be removed and used as a poster. This would have also improved the current cover which I feel could be better. The cover was designed to be printed on an off white recycled cardboard, which would look great with a monotonal design such as this. However due to my printing options this did not become a reality and the cover was printed on a matt, uncoated paper, reducing that â€˜craftedâ€™ vibe I was going for considerably, ultimately altering the tone of the publication. In sourcing the images I often attempted to find lesser know views of the missions on NASAs huge database. For example Apollo 1 is synonymous with an infamous photo of the burnt out cockpit after the cabin fire which killed its crew, I opted to use a photo of the crew training for a water landing, floating in a pool and appearing to have a great time. I feel that the images I selected were trying to tell a story of human achievement, not to neglect the failure of that mission but to celebrate the human nature of space exploration rather that focus on the inherent and obvious dangers.
I suppose this highlights some of the functions of this publication; to provide information about a topic but to also proved a medium for people to explore the spectacle that was the US space programs race to the Moon. One other question I often wondered while working on this brief was whether I should be building a website with this information rather than sending it to print. The brief set out to produce a printed publication, but I do believe that it could have been presented beautifully on screen. However this information is already easily accessible on the web to those who have the time to find it. My goal was to design something which could be picked up in a library, book fair or coffee shop which would be informative and entertaining to those people, who would find the topic interesting but want to cut down to a great summery of the missions without having to sift through huge amounts of data. This is how the publication is successful in my eyes, it takes a huge amount of data and information about a hugely complicated topic and communicates it in an easily read book supported by fascinating images.