Virgin Orbit is a small satellite launch service. Along with its sister brand Virgin Galactic, the company is at the forefront of innovation in the private space industry.
Animated logo ID.
New space hieroglyphics.
Brand values motion graphics and auditory composition using sounds found in space.
A thoughtful environmental graphics system can shape how we work, frame new perspectives, and ultimately influence company culture. Our break area was an extension of the factory floor, undifferentiated - an underutilized throughway for snacks and coffee. With simple design activations like large format images to frame the space, video game stations, and art, it has become townhall - a burgeoning multi-use gathering place for human connection. Our wayfinding system, inspired by the cylindrical shape of our rockets, organizes movement through the facility. Large red banners are visible from anywhere on the factory floor, helping to orient visitors. Red stanchions containing safety equipment appear as you walk along the pathway, marking the department locations. Throughout the factory, key passageways are also lined with artwork to create a sense of transition and flow from one part of the facility to another. All of these activations serve to create a cohesive Virgin Orbit brand experience at the facility. It influences where you choose to walk, how you work, and perhaps most importantly, how you feel.
How do you cultivate Virgin culture through spatial storytelling? This is critical for two primary audiences: customers and employees. It's imperative the Virgin Orbit brand experience is consistent with other Virgin company experiences, to ensure brand equity. We've been testing some ideas by adapting key brand throughlines for our workspace and splattering them around the facility. These experiments include:
- Displaying comic book artwork to emphasize the story of the rocket launch (and neon lights on top for style!)
- Printing with silver metallic textured wallpaper to bring the story of aerospace engineering to life.
- Repeating wallpaper patterns inspired by satellite ground-tracking to create brand cohesion.
- Placing subversive quotes and visual icons in unexpected places to create delightful surprises.
When the company first started, I created an art project inside Virgin Orbit. On it was a simple prompt - "My Mission Is..." - asking employees and visitors to write their hopes and dreams on a tag, then displayed for all to see. I wanted to push people to think beyond the functions of their jobs by asking them to contemplate their "why", their purpose. I wanted them to think about what they believe going to space could help achieve, for themselves, their families, and for society. Over time, the wall has filled up with our individual wisdom, serving as a living microcosm of our company mission and the space community. By sharing ourselves this way, I believe we can remind ourselves that we are all a part of the same human experience, so we can tackle big challenges more effectively.
Rocket livery design
Cosmic Girl and LauncherOne diorama
In aerospace, scale models are used as a tool to visualize launch vehicles. They all look similar since most rockets are launched from a launchpad. The models are usually manufactured by a handful of companies in the US and look like a rocket attached to a metal stand on a wooden pedestal. In a sea of models often gifted to customers, we asked - how can Virgin Orbit's model stand out from the crowd? There was an added challenge of telling the story of air-launch (how it works, presenting the scale of 747 vs rocket, showing vehicle components). The design solution: a limited edition diorama designed in partnership with toy designers. The experience starts with the wing of our Cosmic Girl 747 on the lid of the box. As the lid opens, the red pylon (a technology that holds the rocket to the wing) is revealed. The rocket is showcased in dramatic fashion inside a field of custom art, which is also displayed prominently on the box. The complete set features a companion comic book. Edition of 150.
Event design and collaterals
As challenging as it is sometimes to push visual storytelling beyond what’s expected and “safe” in the aerospace industry, we strive to expand those boundaries every year with our booth design at the SmallSat Conference. It's an ongoing experiment to exceed expectations and differentiate the Virgin Orbit brand - to stand out in a sea of business as usual.
Virtual reality facility tour
Virgin Orbit comic book release no. 1 - "The Chronicles of Virgin Orbit, Episode 1: Opening Space Access" tells the story of how we launch. Edition of 1000. Features special mirrored insert.
Episode 2: Responsive Launch, the second installment of the Virgin Orbit Chronicles comic book series features illustrations by LA-based artist AJ Dungo. This episode explains how Virgin Orbit plans to launch rockets with 24 hours notice. The ongoing series of collaborations with local artists and illustrators seek to inject a pop, whimsical, and vernacular sensibility into the hashtag#newspace brand. Printed at Capital Printing Co in Austin by Deidre Acord.
Inspired by military traditions, the aerospace industry places great importance in the recognition of milestones, a celebration of cornerstone events, and respect for rituals. Considering the semiotics of such custom-designed artifacts (flight patches and challenge coins as such) to mark those milestones become critically important. Everything needs to be considered - including appropriate symbolism, quantity, colors (mostly colors to avoid), and placement, to name a few. Shown here - some of our more playful interpretations for Virgin Orbit.
Jonathan Lo: Creative direction, art direction, and design
Will Pomerantz: Copywriting and project management
Jordan Joseph: Event production and apparel design
Greg Robinson: Film and video
Heidi Rueff: Graphic design
Kendall Russell: Copywriting
Nina Masuda: Brand development and graphic design
Ji Won Lee: Brand environment designer
Doug Filiak: Motion graphics
Joel Pickard: Sound design
Jing Zheng: Illustration
Adam Blish: Product design and virtual reality
Insight Out: Consumer goods design and consulting
Gigasavvy: Website design and development
Weather Projects: Architecture
XP4D: Digital imaging
Production: Spin Imaging, Allen Printing, Capital Printing Co., Marina Graphics, Rocksteady