CROSSER RADIO

August, 2020
Above: Crosser MK-01 Transceiver & Microphone concept. 


In this project I wanted to explore how the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown’s forced closure of entertainment venues and festivals can be tackled. I wanted to conceptualise a means for people, in lieu of these cultural events, to enjoy music and the company of others outside of what can sometimes be very limiting or cliquey social circles of new and social media. This tangent led me to the potential of amateur/HAM radio.

My response is a conceptual product, branding and some supporting promotional material aimed to act as an introductory product to the world of amateur radio. One that strives for the authentic synthesis of community without corporate pandering. Visually I explored themes of classic sci-fi and 60s space age.

This project was conceived as such to allow me to explore new means of working creatively, learning to use new software for 3D modelling and key frame animation in Blender 2.8 and furthering my skills in HTML/CSS coding in Adobe Dreamweaver CC.


LOGO

August, 2020
Above: Logo design/motif & inspiration. 


I wanted to make sure the visual identity was based firmly in amateur/HAM radio. After exploring multiple ideas, I settled for a design that touched on two elements I wanted this project to capture.

The design is inspired in-part by a toroid choke (1). A common component in electronics, toroids are an essential piece of kit for amateur/HAM radio aficionados, particularly for antennas. This was an important source of inspiration because I felt it important to pay homage to the DIY origins of the HAM radio hobby.

It was equally inspired by coiled cables (2) for the obvious similar motif, relevant not only for their presence in music and radio hardware and the Crosser MK01 concept, but because they are also a symbolic object of idle fiddling and tinkering while bored and sequestered. This boredom is what the Crosser is conceived to mitigate, so I felt it to be quite fitting.

Visually I felt the motifs complemented the letterform of C and made for a contemporary, kitschy look that I felt lent itself to an MTV-style playfulness with imagery, texture and identity. I also saw potential in the coil motif for merchandising.  


COLOUR STORY

August, 2020
Above: Pantone Red 032 U & Pantone 3255 U.
 

Intrigued by the potential in the use of sci-fi imagery I wanted the colour scheme to heavily pay homage to the typical conventions of the genre. Through my research I found that red and green tones were used heavily, perhaps due to their utilitarian potential in communicating visually.

This convention was undoubtedly set by a majority of Sci-fi cinema in the second half of the 20th century taking place on spaceships. Characters are framed by and interacting with technology and machinery perceived to be at the vanguard of innovation at the time. In retrospect, this awkward and cumbersome technology by today’s standards, an aesthetic vicariously celebrated as retro-futurism, had limitations - particularly pertaining to displays and user-interfaces.

Thus, LCD displays such as the ones heavily used Sci-fi cinema of the era were limited to utilitarian colour pallets, hence the prominence of these colour schemes. It was a no-brainer for this to be the basis for my colour scheme.

After much testing, I settled for brighter pastel hues to tie in the mid-century modern inspired aesthetic I was also hoping to achieve. 


MARKETING

The Air, referencing the airways or the concept of being “on the air”, serves as a through-line for all the Crosser Radio marketing collateral and as a name for the Crosser usership. I felt it was an effective subject used to conjure up imagery or concepts that had the potential for visual provocation or humour while also being extremely relevent to the product. For example, I feel that telling audiences that “the air needs you” is an affront to what is widely considered to be an objective truth that you need air. It thus, invites audience members to start asking questions and engaging with the material. 


‘SHRED IT INTO THE AIR’ TEASER CAMPAIGN

August, 2020
Above: four-part sequential teaser poster series.
 

I wanted the initial promotional material for Crosser Radio to deliberately be very esoteric and enigmatic, not pandering to a mass market but instead speaking to the counter-cultural routes of amateur/HAM radio. 

Through my market research I found that, aside from those already established as hobbyists of amateur/HAM radio, the people most likely to be interested in a product or service such as Crosser Radio are involved in counter-cultural scenes, such as alternative rock. I thus wanted to target this sector first. The inscentive and, thus, the challenge was to communicate visually how the performance and sharing of such music can continue through Crosser Radio. Inspired by the term “shredding”, a term for performing/creating raw and abrasive sounding music, I honed in on the motif of torn or peeling paste-ups, alluring to street culture and music venues/events as well as making imagery depicted obscured or abstracted, furthering the enigmatic qualities of the posters.  

With this being Crosser Radio’s first piece of public exposure, it was also important to begin to communicate what the product and its purpose is. I used the visual metaphore of being adrift in a car in space with nothing to do but listen to FM radio. I felt this imagery, using conventions of Surrealism, Sci-Fi and rave culture, captures the isolation some would feel under the circumstances and how it may be suplemented with music. I also wanted the imagery to be sequential in some way, to convey a narrative of sharing, which I think the pieces do successfully when enquired as such. 

The design of the posters incorporates different mediums, namely digital collage, 3D (stills from unused animations intended for a website landing page - see below) and tyepsetting. All imagery and assests used in the posters are original.  


PACKAGING

August, 2020
Above: Crosser MK-01 packaging & parachute concept.
 

A minimalist, mid-century inspired design keeps the packaging looking slick and seamless. It also provides the opportunity for campaign imagery to be easily incorporated into the design without compromising cohesive branding or visual harmony.

With the product conceived as a means of mitigating pandemic-induced isolation, I really liked the idea of the packaging and delivery mode of the Crosser MK-01 being inspired by care packages. Even if the package hasn’t literally been dropped from the sky, the idea of it being left on the doorstep with a small parachute as if it has, is, I feel, a nice touch.


‘SHARE THE AIR AND DON’T SPARE’ CAMPAIGN

August, 2020
Above: ‘Share the Air...’ billboard and targeted online ads in-situ.


EXPOSURE

August, 2020
Above: NTS show promoting the music shared over the airways via Crosser users, helping expose underground music fans to Crosser Radio.  


MERCHANDISING

August, 2020
Above: Merch mock-ups.