Responses by David Lee, chief creative officer, and Gui Borchert, senior director, creative
Background: Now more than ever, we needed a spark of optimism. While this global pandemic has brought a dark cloud over the world, this time in isolation has given each of us the best opportunity to dust off that old idea that’s been sitting on the shelf, and work on that passion project we’ve been daydreaming about. We’ve seen our customers make creative pivots, take a chance on a new idea and transition their livelihood online with our platform. This campaign intends to inspire the next generation to take that same leap and launch the next ideas that will move the world forward.
Reasoning: When you hit that publish button for a website, you’re launching an idea out into the world. There’s this feeling of anticipation, anxiety and excitement all at the same time. We felt that the metaphor of space travel—where your ideas are the rockets and where Squarespace is mission control—was a unique way to create a visual world which creates a parallel to the same feeling a small business owner experiences when launching their craft into the orbit.
Challenges: Embarking on our first-ever remote shoot. Our newly formed Squarespace LA team worked with director Ian Pons-Jewell from Reset for this short three-minute film that took place remotely in Kiev, Ukraine. The team had to turn their schedules completely upside down, sleeping throughout the day and getting up to do the nocturnal night shift with the time difference. Communication was also challenging. The team was in constant communication via email, text, Slack, WhatsApp, Zoom and FaceTime calls. Not the most ideal scenario and a nightmare for our producers, but it all worked out.
Favorite details: We really championed the idea of Squarespace becoming mission control. The countdown to launch inspired us to use the nostalgic radio chatter we’ve heard from past memorable space launches. This is why the sound design for the film is a primary character and anchors the narrative. We set out to create dialogue that mimics the chatter from mission control, but instead used web design language and nomenclature from different languages.
Visual influences: We wanted to go in a different direction, and were inspired by the iconic Space Age of the ’60s. While we had to use a significant amount of visual effects to create this universe, we ensured that everything was grounded in reality—we didn’t want this to look sci-fi at all. So, we ended up shooting in large format, which nods to the 4x3 ratio of television sets in the ’60s. We also processed the entire film with a film print transfer so it blended in all of the special effects and gave the work a grainy, cinematic and nostalgic look, like it was shot on film.
Anything new: Producing a campaign of this scale completely remote was a first for all of us. We have been working remotely since mid-March due to COVID, so the development of the ideas, scripts, casting, production and post production was a bi-coastal collaborative effort between our creative teams in NYC and LA. We have been fortunate to be able to continually hire throughout the year, and it was a learning experience working with so many people remotely—some of whom we’ve never met face to face to this day.