TikTok SEA's (South East Asia) Shop & Joy Festival is an online shopping adventure where businesses can connect with TikTok's huge market of users through unique branded experiences and shopping entertainment. When I was approached by Explanimate! Studios to Illustrate a space theme for TikTok's Mega Mall Festival, being a complete nerd for all things space and sci-fi I absolutely jumped at the opportunity! This project was an absolute blast-off (pun intended) to bring to life however it all started out much closer to the ground.
The first concepts were sweet in style and color with mellow pinks and purples leaning towards visual cues like sugar treats and playgrounds. Think cotton candy clouds and bubble teas. However stakeholders strongly wanted to push the mall further out into the stars. The idea for theming each kiosk to products was also thrown around, but with a caveat; They needed them to be generic enough to accomodate a variety of potential brands. Consideration to space was also one of the key obstacles during early development as user interaction would be solely through mobile UI. So a packed playground-like mall with slides and ladders and floating candy in all directions was just too loud and would likely interfere with the user experience.
After several rounds of feedback on style, theme and execution, we decided push towards sci-fi in location while keeping a playful feel. I took heavy inspiration from the fictional Pizza Planet in Pixar's Toy Story keeping things fun whilst dialling down the tech-side inherent with sci-fi themes. Characters were round and floating where possible with dynamic poses to help sell the idea that the mall was in the weightlessness of space. It also felt right to utilise the broad TikTok color palette, employing their secondary colours to help punch some depth, detail and ultimately break up the primaries. The strong fluorescent colors also help to give a sci-fi glow to the illustrations against the dark backdrop of space.
As always, teamwork is what makes a project go supernova! A big thanks to my friends over at Explanimate! Studios and TikTok.