Explore the graphic design behind NASA-SpaceX's historic launch

Oxcart Assembly's interstellar branding for Launch America.

The end of May saw the broadcast of the historic Launch America mission from Nasa and SpaceX, of which early indications show peak viewership was at least 10.3 million concurrent viewers, making the most-watched launch broadcast that NASA has ever tracked.

The broadcast though was more than just a camera pointed at a launching spacecraft, and today we can exclusively go behind-the-scenes of the Launch America graphic design and branding guide, looking at the motion assets, logos and title sequences which helped bring the occasion to life.


All these assets were created by Oxcart Assembly for NASA, with Paul Wizikowski as executive producer and creative director of the entire broadcast. 

Motion into Space

Oxcart's Graphics Guide for the Launch America broadcast includes motion breakdowns, such as this 'Meatball' animation reveal of the Launch America logo turning into the classic NASA symbol.

The Nasa 'Look Book'

A heft of new graphics were made for the launch, and while the presence of SpaceX represents the role new and private entities will have in the 21st century Space Race, the Look Book used by Oxcart as inspiration shows they were drawn to vintage NASA logos and uniform designs.

These fashion pointers helped create the uniforms worn by talent during the broadcast.

Branding


Above is the Launch America logo; the graphic above the type represents the International Space Station (ISS in the notes). Versions of the logo appeared with and without the ISS during broadcast.

The below colour palette reveals the red used in the full-colour logo is known as 'NASA Meatball Red', named after the nickname for the classic round NASA insignia.

The font used throughout the launch is Estricta, a sans serif typeface with a geometrical and mechanic appearance developed for the Graviton Font Foundry a few years ago.

Title Sequence

The opening for the broadcast comprised of a timeline of NASA 'firsts' over the past six decades.

Each milestone was treated by taking a photo or video and combining it with a news headline related to the event plus related schematic rendering/drawing from NASA, as created through a parallax or 2.5-D motion graphic treatment with the various elements.

Watch the sequence here.

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