Elon Musk Is Getting SpaceX Closer to Mars, One Rocket at a Time by Bloomberg LP

For this graphic, we take users through an illustrated history of SpaceX rocket launches. Using a system of whimsical symbols and icons, we detail the story of each launch from launchpad to orbit. The graphic incorporates unique details of each flight, like floating rodents and exploding boosters, to help tell the story of SpaceX’s successes and failures. The piece also includes interactive easter eggs, like rockets that launch and gracefully return to earth when clicked on.

One problem this graphic had to overcome was the need for a complex key. We needed to display more than a dozen icons, each requiring a somewhat lengthy description due to the complexity of defining the nuances of space travel.  To overcome these challenges, we instead incorporated the definitions into a short story that utilized rebus techniques — where illustrations are used in lieu of words and phrases — to quickly move the readers through the definitions. The symbols are then replicated throughout the piece, and as the complexity of each SpaceX mission grows, so does the string of symbols guiding you through each launch.