This project is my contribution to my favorite Alien movie 40th anniversary. I decided to represent and remake one of the works of the great American film designer Ron Cobb icons for spaceship Nostromo.
He named them the “Semiotic Standard For All Commercial Trans-Stellar Utility Lifter And Heavy Element Transport Spacecraft”.
You might have noticed that these icons bear a striking resemblance to the rounded rectangles used for modern app iconography!
I really like them, this small details help to believe and fill the atmosphere of retro-futuristic space mining ship which is created for people (space miners, workers) who worked and traveled through the space and galaxies.
The sketches below are from Cobb’s 1981 collected works, Colorvision book:
Icons shape analysis:
Ron Cobb designed these icons on graph paper which is a common way to make design sketches in 70-80.
Icons size is 19 x 18 units.
First of all, all icons have a main frame, then separator line and area for the different type of content. The main frame sometimes interrupted and in rare cases, there is no frame. Main frame mainly colored red which is in terms of color theory related to visible, sound, alive and alertness explanations. Let’s left colors after the shape and symbols analysis.
Important note from Cobb’s sketches:
All symbols (icons) should be outlined in white when they appear in dark or colored backgrounds...
( I think he means that in spaceship walls or surfaces where will be placed these icons are mainly made from metal and have dark grey or grey colors, so white outline will popup the icon and make more visible. Another example medical compartment or in Mother’s* room where is the walls and surfaces are white and white outline not need anymore).
* Mother is the name of the main computer (brain) of Nostromo.
Grid and sizes.
In this image, we can see the colors chosen by Ron, of course, they are in paper and the colors were faded through the time.
Red - viable, alive, sound, alertness.
White and Grey - Life supporting condition: Pressure, temperature.
Black - Vacuum, death, hazard.
Yellow - Harmful active process: Molecular (heat) atomic, chemical.
Blue - Lowered thermal condition.
Green - Non-human biological substance, process (Not used in standard)