International Space Station - Isolation

Poster Design  |  Interaction Design  |  Motion Graphics  |  Photography  |  Illustration  |  Digital Publishing

My fascination with space exploration finally had an outlet with this project. I was tasked with first selecting a place, then developing a typographic poster based on that place, and finally translating the poster into an interactive, temporal narrative for iPad.

Full Process PDF

Full Video of Interactive Digital Publication

The final phase of this project was create a digital publication using InDesign's DPS feature. I chose to create a seamless, animated interactive experience that takes you on a journey to the ISS and simulatneously teaches you a bit about space.


Using the International Space Station as my place of focus I developed a few descriptors to inform my design decisions: orbit, isolation, and awe.

The ISS is constantly in freefall, a continuous orbit about the Earth. It completes an orbit every 90 minutes, or sixteen times per day.

The ISS makes it apparent that not only are you isolated with only a small crew aboard, but that the Earth itself is a solitary oasis amongst a sea of darkness. With this isolation comes a sense of fragility and a greater appreciation for how precious Earth is.

Seeing the Earth from 200+ miles above must be a truly mesmerizing experience. The weather patterns, the lights at night, glittering auroras, volcanic eruptions, and expansive deserts all contribute to a stunning display of the variety and beauty that characterizes our planet.

Initial Sketches

Making Auroras

To create the auroras on the poster, I used illustrator to create a thin vertical gradient that I based off of the color palette of an actual aurora. I then loaded that gradient onto my phone and used it as a light painting tool. I set my shutter speed to 15s and moved my phone around in erratic patterns and in variable rates. Eventually, I settled upon three suitable aurora photos.

Letterform Development

The letters themselves are modular, with different sections of them seeming to float off into space. Each letter has three common elements: a bolded grounding line, two orbitals (one with the letter nestled inside), and an arrangement of broken, thin lines that trace the outside stroke.

Final Poster

Digital Publishing Adaptation - Storyboarding

I sketched out a rough outline of the experience before jumping into After Effects & InDesign to make sure that I was telling the full story, and used that outline going forward to develop my style frames in Illustrator.

Once in the production phase I learned that all of the animations in the InDesign document would need to be created using individual frames. In order to make the entire experience feel seemless I made certain sequences loop and others end at the exact beginning of a new animation sequence. A complex folder structure & Adobe Media Encoder export preset had to be developed to standardize my settings across the story. Every interactive element in the DPS was essentially just triggering a sequence of queued .PNG frames.

Final Frames