A Much More Interesting Aircraft Safety Card | Skillshare Projects



A Much More Interesting Aircraft Safety Card

I'm really excited to start this class! So here it goes...


I curently work as a freelance illustrator but mainly within the realms of Music Packaging- vinyl, tour posters, t-shirts etc. I first wanted to be an illustrator because I liked my images to have a purpose and function- but this has gotten a bit lost and it's something I now want to rediscover. While I feel comfortable making images, I want to really explore communication in my illustration. So thats why I'm taking this course. I'm taking a couple of others to really boost my skillset.

My Goal

To better my communication through illustration- without the need for text. While keeping my drawings interesting, personable and fun.

The Beginning...

I've started looking more into how different illustrations communicate different things- as per the introduction. I already look at a lot of childrens books, medical diagrams, infographics etc and am already a follower of Information is Beautiful and I collect children's books. For some reason I've never set myself a personal project along simlar lines to the Aircraft Safety Card. So here's my pinterest board for this project...

Identifying My Project

I began to compile a pinterest board, and a folder on my computer of existing airplane safety cards and some inspiration I like here

I decided to use the A380 Airbus, I like that there are 2 decks, and British Airways have only just introduced these planes- so I managed to find lots of detailed pictures of the inside, the outside, the existing safety cards and thought they may be more willing to give me some information if I needed it.

I found that many safety cards (even the new British Airways A380 one) were really, really dull and old fashioned- and looked as if they had been kind of looked over. Information was presented, but it wasn't always easy to read or understand- and the order sometimes looked jumbled to me. It seems strange when they expect travellers to read this before their take off, and read that 69% of customers were not looking at the safety information- whether that be a video or safety card. Many companies have been improving their videos, but the print side looks ignored and tired!

Below is a section of the new BA safety card for the Airbus A380

Current A380 Safety Card

Old Safety Card

I'd have to agree with Dan Matutina, older safety cards are much more aesthetically pleasing, but they weren't as clear for non-english speakers etc. And this is an important part of the redesign. I usually forget how clear my illustration needs to be- so I must remember this!

Visual Inspiration

I have a pinterest board for this but heres a mood board kind of thing just to make it all clear so that my project is totally readable from this.

Things I had to include/communicate

- Reminders (seatbelt, chair position, overhead luggage storage)

-Forbidden items

-Preflight/ Take off rules

-During flight rules

-Emergency Landing (Land)

-Emergency Landing (Water)



Things to consider

-Average seat size to accomadate easy reading (although normally the company would select the format, so maybe I should just do whatever the hell I want!)

-Is it just for safety, or a little more charming

-Clarity to non-English speakers

-Clarity of graphics

-Amount of information

My Rough Sketches

Here I was trying to just get a feel for the shape and weights of the plane I had selected.

I also started thinking about the safety card being welcoming, with the lack of a hostess doing the on flight demonstration (which I do kind of miss to be honest) I started playing around with characters and thinking about the card speaking directly to teh passenger on a more personal level.

I was also playing with cutaways, being influenced by Chris Ware (in my pinterest), and a slight comic style to it all. Also looked at Stephen Biestly's books- which also have cutaways and diagrams.

This image below plays more with extra annotations, and I was wary of illustrating the exits- which is a legal requirement.

Playing aorund with personalities of characters that could be included in the cutaway.

Again looking at an air hostess character. 

With my sketches so far, I'm now a bit unsure of which way to go. I think characters come naturally to me and so I'm looking more into a comic book style- but I dont want clarity of information to be lost in this. Right time for some feedback I think.. A lot to post in a day, but I have worked on this all day as I work from home. 


Okay! So I am not a digital artist... I've only really used photoshop and illustrator to do my layouts, and slight touch ups etc on my paintings and drawings. So I decided to practise on a smaller, less complicated illustration to try out illustrator. The videos made me realise things I could achieve in digital work- and was dfinately the push I needed to get with the times.

I'm pretty happy with it- theres some small mistakes I want to go back in and fix, but overall I'm really chuffed.


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