During my time working at the National Space Centre, I’ve been developing these little characters to accompany pages and events.
The 2.0s (two point ohs) were created by NSC Creative, as the stars of their award winning full-dome film ‘We Are Astronomers’. The 2.0s are mini, orange versions of us, intrepidly scanning the skies for distant galaxies and undiscovered planets, in a never ending search for the origins of the Universe. Their newest adventure sees them embarking on a search for intelligent life, in their forthcoming film ‘We Are Aliens’.
Before I arrived at the National Space Centre, they had developed a 2.0 character called ‘Brock Anchorson’ as part of the interactive Weather Pod exhibit, as a news anchor introducing weather reports presented by visitors. When we redeveloped the site for the National Space Centre, they were keen to use the characters across the site, and so we started to work with the 2.0s to become site guides, asides and to accompany pages.
I’ve really enjoyed making the illustrations. I’ve enjoyed adapting them to different aspects of space culture, history and geek culture. I’ve mixed flat 2D vector graphics with the 3D models of the 2.0s, and textured and shaded them in Photoshop. One of the concerns the Space Centre had with the initial brief is the worry that the 2.0s are too childish, and would alienate adult visitors. I hope instead that they have a more contemporary illustration feel, and will appeal to adults as well (To be honest, I don’t really get the doodles for kids vs. doodles for grown ups thing!).
Here are some of the 2.0s in various states of fancy dress. You can also find a lot more over on the National Space Centre website.
This is a slight diversion from the site building posts I’ve been focusing on. Today, we (NSC Creative) launched the new website for the National Space Academy, a UK wide network of educators and scientists managed by a team at the National Space Centre.
It’s been a really enjoyable project to work on, as it had to be engaging and inspiring, but with (as the brief said) “no aliens or spaceships”, so it was a challenge to find the right tone and feel. Luckily, some of the space imagery we had available was stunning, and it’s not hard to inspire awe with images like the International Space Station, the satellite imagery of Saudi Arabia, and the Sea Surface Temperature visualisations which appear on the home page. The galaxy logo and title were made by Leicester design agency Motion, who also made the Space Centre logos.
The site also uses a map to locate the educators and scientists. The Academy offer masterclasses in schools and at the National Space Centre, so the map gives an indication of which classes are able to be delivered in your area.
The glowing ‘clusters’ group teachers together enabling the visitor to focus in on areas to reveal more specific data. Each member has their own page, outlining the work they do, and links to projects they are involved in or the school where they are based. I wanted to ensure the profiles added credibility to the site and the project, so these pages mimic University site researcher pages, offering a richer profile of the individual.
I’ve included this particular profile as, when I was reading through the site, I saw the link to the Malcolm Parry Observatory. It is a massive observatory built at a school near Nottingham! I was amazed, and wished my school had had something as cool as that. Check it out at http://mpole2011.wordpress.com/. If we’d have had that at school, I’d be a boffin by now!