Signale der Erde

Murmurs of Earth—The Voyager Interstellar Record

Masterthesis by Maria Knaub

Author: Josephine Schroeder

The master project Murmurs of Earth—The Voyager Interstellar Record (orig.: Signale der Erde — Unser Planet stellt sich vor) by Maria Knaub delves into these queries by redesigning an existing non-fiction book, encompassing content and design elements. The outcome is the redesign of the book.

Conceptual book design aims to align the inherent content structures with the unique structure of the book itself. However, the extent to which an existing narrative can be altered through design and the resulting value from this intervention remain questions to explore.

Carl Sagan’s 1978 book details the formation of Voyager Golden Records—data disks affixed to Voyager 1 and 2, launched in 1977. The Voyager 1 and 2 embarked on a monumental mission to explore the outer planets of our solar system and venture into the farthest reaches of space. They encountered Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune before journeying to the solar system’s edge. Despite aging, they continue to transmit data to Earth and may cease around 2030 while maintaining a speed of 48,000 km/h. Earlier missions, carried messages for potential alien life. Inspired by this, Voyager 1 and 2 carry a comprehensive cosmic message in a bottle. These disks carry visual and audio information about Earth, sent as a message to potential extraterrestrial life.

Beyond the central 118 images, the original book incorporates graphics, tables, and diverse textual styles. Maria’s thesis redesign of the book focuses on a modern narrative of the NASA project. The original version contained 118 images, diverse graphics, and tables, which were digitized and refined for improved language and storytelling.

Analog content underwent digitization, language refinement, narrative assessment, and necessity evaluation. Following content evaluation and refinement, a new design concept emerged, aligned with the theme and subsequently applied to structure, layout, and material in the redesign. The outcome is a redesigned book that prioritizes enhanced access to intricate thematic content. Complex ideas are visually represented for intuitive understanding through heightened readability and restructured narrative, all within the context of the emotional-science visual interplay. The core task was translating this aim into a comprehensive design concept—a guiding idea shaping the book’s form. Content and design were interwoven during the redesign, with scientific information made visually accessible, adopting a restructured narrative. Emphasizing the book’s role as a medium led to a redesign enabling readers to fully immerse themselves in the Voyager mission’s subject matter.

Murmurs of Earth—The Voyager Interstellar Record

Design & Concept: Maria Knaub
Format: 155 × 230 mm
Volume: 612 pages
Language: German
Workmanship: Swiss Brochure Stitch, Chain Stitch
Material: Inside: Metapaper rough 90 g, Cover: Metapaper rough 300 g & Matte Cellophane Coating, Enhanced with UV Varnish
Bookmark: Satin Ribbon, White, Screen Printing

More Information here.

Signale der Erde

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