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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 18:42 EDT

Hornall Anderson Takes Space Needle Visitor Experience to the Next Level

May 7, 2007

With its long, graceful lines reaching majestically into the sky, Seattle’s famed Space Needle symbolized America’s commitment to space exploration when the structure made its acclaimed debut at the 1962 World’s Fair. People from all over the globe flocked to the opening, eager to see features such as the 360-degree rotating restaurant and famed observation deck perched high atop the Seattle skyline.

It’s been some four and a half decades since that historic moment. But, today, thanks to a major re-branding initiative spearheaded by the Space Needle and award-winning design firm Hornall Anderson, visitors and residents can now enjoy an experience that is more futuristic than ever.

Space Needle ownership laid the foundation for change with a series of structural improvements beginning at the base and moving upward. The makeover culminated with the installation of the innovative new Immersion Interactive system (http://www.sky-Q.com) designed by Hornall Anderson (http://www.hadw.com). Its theme: “Live the View!™”

By creating four distinct sub-brands, each linked to a different visitor experience, and utilizing the latest in interactive technology, Hornall Anderson turns the Space Needle into a vertical village offering something fun for virtually everyone, beginning the moment one sets foot on the grounds.

The firm designed signage and directional indicators that not only point the way for the trip up the iconic superstructure, but also to educate the reader through clever factoids that explain key milestones in the Space Needle’s celebrated history. Bright pylon directional kiosks, boldly colored banners and other environmental graphics wrapped around the base of the structure are all used to set the tone.

Once inside the exhibit, people can visit the Space Base, the re-branded, ground level gift shop, or begin their journey to the top of the famed superstructure aboard a glass-encased elevator. Along the way, they pass SkyLine (at the 100 foot level), where groups host special functions, the famed rotating — and completely redesigned — restaurant now known as SkyCity, and eventually arrive at the observation deck, or O-Deck, its newly created identity, high atop the landmark.

It is there, overlooking Seattle’s beautiful Elliott Bay, Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges and the city’s magnificent skyline, where Hornall Anderson delivers on the Space Needle’s “Live the View!” promise, by creating a guest experience unlike those typically found at view-oriented tourist attractions. Interactive designers and technicians built a series of intuitive, highly user-friendly kiosks that extend the 360-degree view, not just visually, but experientially, as people learn about the many treasures of the Emerald City. The branded experience is called Sky Q.

At the View kiosk high-definition cameras controlled by the visitor enable them to zoom in on various points of interest and learn about what they’re seeing from presentations delivered in multiple media formats. Interactive maps, meanwhile, flank the View station, offering touch-screen capabilities linked to live video, produced movies, still images and text factoids about Seattle landmarks. The viewing experience is further enhanced by aural content delivered through holophonic audio spotlight speakers.

From there, visitors might choose to move to the Vignette kiosk, where they can gather authentic local perspectives about Seattle destinations, which are delivered by local residents. The 20-40 second segments are shot in high-def, and also include still images complemented by directional audio.

Or, people can move to the Reveal kiosk and interface with motion-sensitive screens that serve up factoids and illustrated 360-degree views of the city from directly beneath the O-deck. Factoids on such popular destinations as the Pike Place Market, the Seattle Aquarium, Mount Rainier and others pop-up when the user clicks on a touch-screen button mounted over five 30″ LCD panels showing the Seattle skyline.

Arguably, the most dramatic visuals in the entire experience may reside at the Time-Lapse kiosk. Four 30″ LCD panels display a 360-degree, digitally stitched panoramic view of the Seattle skyline shot from the roof of the Space Needle. These are taken in one-minute increments over a 24-hour period. A single knob guides the experience, allowing for forward or backward travel throughout the day. The control also allows for panning the view across the assembled screens to get the full interactive effect.

“The Immersion Interactive Branding Experience leaves an indelible mark on the person because they’re at the center of the experience,” said Jamie Monberg, who leads the Interactive practice at Hornall Anderson. “They’re not merely interested observers out on the periphery, but actual participants. That’s what we mean when we say ‘Live the View.’”

In addition to the interactive and environmental graphics, Hornall Anderson designed a new identity, print collateral, and merchandising materials for the Space Needle. The new look debuts this month.

About Hornall Anderson

Hornall Anderson is a leading brand design/interactive agency specializing in research-driven, creatively inspired business solutions. Founded in 1982 by award-winning designers John Hornall and Jack Anderson, the firm serves a diverse mix of clients ranging from Fortune 500 brands to emerging growth companies. Hornall Anderson (http://www.hadw.com) is a part of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC)

About Omnicom

Omnicom (http://www.omnicomgroup.com) is a leading global advertising, marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom’s branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, interactive, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.