This project began with a question: Could I use my professional creative medium of graphic design to build a fictional universe? Graphic design (and branding in particular) are almost always tied to a real-world commercial ask. An existing client approached a designer or studio with a creative need concerning communications, and said designer executes a solution aligned to that client’s brand and audience. This is a process most always tied to real world specifications or constraints. As a creative medium, graphic design is very different from other mediums like illustration, writing and film making, in that it is often linked closely with tangible realities. As a sci-fi and fantasy fan, and creative world builder, I often find my own professional medium at odds with my creative desires. From this starting point, I began brainstorming ideas around how I might use my professional medium to tell a fictional story. How could I use the constraints and process of graphic design to create a world and tell a story as intricate as one found in a novel or short story for example?
This article and project are my attempt at bridging the gap between the different creative mediums for which I have a strong passion. My goal is to use the discipline of graphic design, (specifically branding) to develop a science fiction story way beyond our time, space and world. Right from the start, this brief itself provided some interesting restrictions and areas of focus. Rather than begin a creative story with characters, places, plot lines, etc., I began with a traditional brand building process, sketching ideas for marks, design systems and brand graphics that could then be applied to various touch-points across a complex space station. This process has lasted me, on and off, several years now. In that time, the project has taken many turns, been inspired with a variety of ideas, and led to some fun collaborations. What you see here is the culmination of several years of work on a hypothetical brand design — both far ahead of us in time and far away from us in space. I hope to continue to build on this project more, and invite in more collaborators in the process. Let’s see where it goes from here.
I hope you enjoy it!
- Tomi Lahdesmaki
Thank you to the following people who helped me so far:
Annette Signorelli (logo animation), Tom Briggs (words) and Daniel Bueno (book renders).