This post originally appeared on Column Five.
What is a brand? How do you ensure yours is strong (and real)? At Column Five and Visage, we find that when our partners struggle to craft a unifying brand story, it’s because they don’t entirely know who they are. It’s not surprising. It’s tough work that requires deep self-reflection about your core purpose, vision, mission, and values. Each is a pillar of your brand’s foundation, but it’s sometimes hard to see how it all fits together.
The totality of a brand can feel like an abstraction. As you’ve probably heard, it’s not a single product or logo. It’s the composite of both your expression and your audience’s experiences with—and perception of—that expression. That’s why it can be hard to get a clear picture of the entirety of your brand.
Still, there are core elements that influence the way you craft and present your brand to the world. Understanding how these elements interact helps you ensure you’re building your brand the right way. If something in your organization feels like it’s off track or could simply be better, looking to the core is the best place to start.
As visual communicators, we wanted to make the layers of your brand easier to understand. So, we decided to visualize it in our new 360-degree motion graphic. And we wanted to put you in the front seat.
“The Spacecraft of Your Brand” is a unique motion graphic experience, created by Column Five and Visage, that lets you explore the journey of a brand through space. See what it takes to build your spacecraft (aka brand), how it travels through the universe, and how it interacts with the outside world. (FYI, we used the same framework outlined in the motion graphic to shape our brands.)
Dive in and take a look for yourself. For the best viewing experience, follow the link below to YouTube (make sure you have the latest version if you’re mobile). Desktop viewers might want to view in Chrome with the hardware acceleration setting on. Oh, and if you’re viewing with a VR headset (some cheap ones here), make sure you click on YouTube’s stereoscopic setting.
This project was inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. (You probably know his famous geodesic dome at Epcot.) We found this dome to be a great visual brand metaphor, as we explained in our post about the many facets of a healthy brand. But we wanted to expand on the idea. So, we created a full universe—in 360.
It was an awesome opportunity to experiment with a new medium. (Experiment Often is actually one of Column Five’s core brand values and a Visage philosophy too.) It brought plenty of creative challenges, but we were up to the task.
For lead designer Remo Bangayan, the hardest and most fulfilling part about the creating the 360-degree virtual environment was figuring out an efficient, technical workflow.
Going into the project with zero knowledge of how to create a 360 world required a ton of independent research and experimentation—not to mention rounds and rounds of failed overnight renders. The tedious process required so many complex steps, and one small discrepancy or number could wreck the entire delicate system.
Shoutout to the beautiful Internet for providing step-by-step processes, as well as the awesome plug-in Mettle 360, which allowed us to stitch together 6 omnidirectional camera renders and add graphic overlays and audio cues, all within Adobe After Effects.
Luckily, we made it through with the final product.
We’re thrilled with how our first foray into 360 turned out. We hope it inspires you to move into your own orbit with confidence.
For more tips on building your brand, find out the 4 things your brand style guide needs, how to build your visual language, and why explainer videos can help your brand. And if you need any help, we’d love to chat.