Measuring The Universe

Illustrator Richard Hogg worked with graphic designer Anna Fidalgo on the exhibition design for the current Measuring The Universe exhibition running at Royal Observatory Greenwich until September 2…

Illustrator Richard Hogg worked with graphic designer Anna Fidalgo on the exhibition design for the current Measuring The Universe exhibition running at Royal Observatory Greenwich until September 2…

The exhibition coincides with June’s Transit of Venus event – during which Venus will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun, appearing as a tiny black dot that will appear to move across the sun. This event won’t happen for another 105 years and, says the Royal Observatory, in centuries gone by these rare cosmic events were used to accurately measure the distance to the planets, giving astronomers an idea of the truly mind-boggling scale of space.

The idea then for Measuring The Universe is to showcase the history of measuring distance between objects in space and demonstrate the various methods used by astronomers in doing just this.

While Fidalgo worked on the graphics and typography side of the exhibition design, Hogg produced illustrations to be incorporated into the exhibition’s poster (above) and also created a 4 minute animation as part of the exhibition. The animation explains, thankfully in layman’s terms, how there are various ways to measure the distance between objects. Here are some stills:

“Because the concepts involved in measuring the universe are pretty tricky to comprehend, interactive designer Henry Holland who was working with the Royal Observatory on the exhibition got in touch with Dick if he could create an animation that would simplify it all,” says Fidalgo of the project. “That was the starting point for us working on the project as Dick then got me involved because we’ve worked together before.

“So we collaborated on a look and feel for the animation,” Fidalgo continues. “I chose a typeface and created a colour palette which Dick used for the animation. Then I took some graphic elements from the drawings Dick was creating when designing the animation, such as the wavy lines, and incorporated them into the exhibition identity.”

“The script for the animation really was an evenly split collaboration with astronomer Olivia Johnson and Henry at the Royal Observatory,” explains Hogg.”It was a really amazing way of working, collaborating with a scientist and trying to understand the science and draw diagrams that were technically correct,” he continues. “I was a little worried that I was doing the dumbing down role, trying to edit what Olivia was saying down to four minutes, but actually it was really inspiring working like that and trying to capture these things in a way that makes sense but is still fun.”

Because of the animation’s importance in the exhibition, the whole show is in a low lit room and all the information is presented on backlit light boxes:

Measuring The Universe runs until September 2 at the Royal Observatory, Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich, London SE10 8XJ

The full four minute animation (which Hogg created working with animators Robert Milne, Ross Phillips and Kwok Fung Lam, and sound designer George Thomson) will appear in the next week or two on the CR iPad app


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