STAREG Technologies is developing its patented Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) software for the space industry focusing on the launch services sector (launch vehicles, i.e rockets) and the commercial satellite industry.
This project took us to Geneva. During a two-month stay we designed the STAREG logo and brand, while developing the website and filmed the presentation video.
The main theme as you can probably tell by the final design is Retro Sci-fi, which It's not exactly up my alley. I can usually tell from experience where the design is going when I hear a pitch, but for the first time in a while I couldn't visualise the look of the project as a whole. This time I had to leave my comfort zone and come up with something.
With this kind of "retro badge" design it's easy to go overboard and do something cool, but it's very hard to maintain the properties that make a logo work in real scenarios. We have worked on more than 30 logo iterations, tweaking every element in order to get a distinctive and memorable design, without compromising on legibility and flexibility of use. Every shape and color is a result of a full month of drafts and prototypes, testing every combination once we knew the final elements to include:
- Space background
- The rocket trail
- The rocket itself
- The STAREG logotype
The color palette was also pretty challenging. When you have more than 3 colors it's painful to get the right balance, make the background work with the rocket trail and sunset gradient.
I realised I was in love with this logo when I saw it printed on a patch, how cool is that?
For the STAREG's website we needed something that could deliver the Retrofuturism theme of the brand while being straightforward and without getting in the way of information.
The landing page is a whole other project, it involves a 10 layer parallax effect, composed of various images kindly provided by NASA’s archive on Visions of the Future. It also features a star moving effect at the top of the page and a dynamic countdown. Given the fluid nature of the web, getting the parallax effect to behave properly on different resolutions and devices was an exercise of patience and required some fine tuning.
Besides the landing page the website has an articulated structure and consists of several custom systems / templates, including:
- A dynamic solar system logo in the top left corner
- STAREG’s paper, an academic document with chapter navigation and the possibility to download the full article in pdf format
- The Departments section is a three level system, where it was necessary to establish the company model. The idea of STAREG is that a team composed of experts in the field of sustainability, business and aerospace engineering would come together to create a green aerospace company.
- The Careers page was relevant to STAREG’s website as the need to recruit skilled people is vital to the success of this project. The opportunity to prepare positions and make them visible to the public with a clear coming soon date also helps future applicants to prepare their application in advance and be prepared to apply, once the position is open.
- The team page with every member's picture and role
- News to allow readers to navigate through different technical articles
All this work came together in the presentational video, also including an intro logo animation. With two cameras we were able to get 3 different shots, cropping a 4k one into two different 1080p zooms. Once we got the final edit, it was time to add captions. Those where animated by hand, one by one, in After Effects. Believe me, I tried automating the work but we had too many font size, text enphasis and color variations. Every layer and keyframe has been therefore placed manually. The background music is also custom made, by my dear friend and musician Paolo Mantini @Clockbeats.
I'll let the final result speak for itself, enjoy!
STAREG Logo Intro
Can we make the aerospace industry more sustainable?
Overall this project has taught me again how to turn an idea into something you can show the world and be proud of. Here are a few important takeaways:
- Research: I didn't know much about space before this project and to be honest was skeptical on the whole "Retro Sci-Fi" theme. The first skill of a designer is listening and absorbing information. I did my homework, collecting lots of visual references, reading literature and watching videos. Much like an actor would learn a part, you have to fully immerse yourself and commit to the core ideas. This makes a huge difference in framing the problem and recognising the tools at disposal.
- Iterate: this project put me in a difficult position many times, especially on the logo design. I wasn't able to just "nail it" in a few tries, but each day we got a new iteration and made some progress. The thing with "creative work" is that people expect to find a perfect solution, but at the end of the day creative work is still work, involving hours of tweaking and moving and starting from scratch, multiple times if necessary. Persistence is key.
“Man’s greatest asset is the unsettled mind.”Isaac Asimov