Featured design: Reach for the stars!

Featured design: Reach for the stars!

Reach for the stars limited edition A4 print

Each card design takes me a few days to create and perfect. I often create them a few hours here and there over a couple of months. In these feature blogs I hope to start introducing how I approach and create the we are stardust designs so you can see what goes into making my cards and prints. This month, I'm focussing on the Reach for the stars design, just released as an A4 print.

The idea

It first came to me when browsing the cards in Paperchase. I saw a 'reach for the stars' card and it got me wondering, how far away are 'the stars' exactly? I guess, our Sun is the closest, but what about after the Sun? And how long would it take to 'reach' them?

The science

Alpha Centurai star system as seen through a telescope

I started with a Google search for the nearest star to our solar system and then looked for the most reliable websites - museums, NASA, universities. In this instance NASA came to the rescue. I learned our nearest star is Proxima Centurai - the smallest star in the middle of the Alpha Centurai star system, which also contains the larger Alpha Centurai and Beta Centurai stars.

A bit of algebra was needed to calculate how long it would take a jet plane to reach Proxima Centurai, which is 4.22 light years away from Earth. Here's my working:

Light: 186000 miles per second = 5,869,713,600,000 miles per year (365.25 days)
Jet plane: 550 miles per hour = 4383000 miles per year (365.25 days)

Light: 5,869,713,600,000 x 4.22 = 24,770,191,392,000 miles to Proxima Centurai
Jet plane: 4383000 x y = 24,770,191,392,000 miles to Proxima Centurai

y = 5,651,424 years for a jet plane to reach Proxima Centurai

The art


Reach for the stars A4 print close up

At first, I tried lots of different versions with handwritten fonts and watercolour but nothing seemed right. After my rebrand early last year, I finally have a consistent selection of fonts and colours to choose from. The rebrand has helped my design process hugely. It means all my cards have a consistent style and in this instance it transformed the design completely!

I did a lot of sketches using the rule of thirds to decide which elements of the card go where. The rule of thirds is something I use on nearly all of my designs.

The watercolour sky is the we are stardust signature blackberry blue colour. The stars were drawn by hand, scanned into my computer and turned into a white, scalable illustration. The stars were placed over the watercolour sky using Adobe InDesign and finally the text was added to complete the design. I am really pleased with how this card has turned out. I think I'll be using the elements in this design for future astronomy collection cards.

The process requires a lot of testing and redoing and recreating. I often find the text the hardest thing to complete as I am more of a visual creator than a wordsmith. It's helpful for me to remember this iterative process as I start to create new designs...


What do you think of the process? Do you have any more questions on how the design was created? Let me know in the comments. 

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