Good design is hard to create when you’re working in this world, but when you’re designing for a world that, well, doesn’t exist, that’s when real creativity takes over.
If you saw the sci-fi film The Martian, you may have noticed more than just Matt Damon’s character stranded on Mars. Much of the plot relies on technology and communication—think spacecraft readings, navigation, monitors, and data displayed on an endless array of screens and gadgets. These elements lend to the film’s aesthetic and deliver important information to the viewer. But as realistic as those graphics looked, they were simply the fabrications of the creative team at Territory Studio.
Experts in UI design, the Territory team was tasked with designing detailed graphics and interfaces that were as accurate and realistic as possible, while communicating pertinent information and maintaining the director’s aesthetic.
The level of detail in the graphics is astounding, both for graphics that were significant plot points and others that barely appeared on screen. Not only do they look hyper-realistic, the design is clean, simple, and somehow timeless.
Cheesy interfaces are the hallmarks of many dated sci-fi movies, but it’s hard to imagine that these visuals will seem prehistoric anytime soon. This is because the design team actually worked with NASA scientists and engineers, spent endless hours studying the most minute details of the cosmos, and designed interfaces based on future technologies.
“The greatest challenge was to create graphic interfaces that looked like they were genuine NASA screens as they will be in 30 years time,” Art Director Marti Romances told How Design. “So the amount of realism was key, but we had to push the design concepts further, [visualizing] near-future technology. Knowing that NASA is always one step ahead, we had to consider the technologies that are being tested now and those that haven’t even been developed yet and imagine ways to represent information, from a user interface and experience design perspective.”
All that effort certainly shows, down to the most simple graphics.How Design]