Design Trend: Outer Space and Constellations

By on Jun 1, 2018 in Design Trends
Design Trend: Outer Space and Constellations

The last few years have been chock-full of exciting news about outer space and constellations. This helps explain why this outer space design trend has been on the rise in recent memory. Whether it was the first orbit of the dwarf planet Ceres, the first flyby of Pluto, or the Falcon 9’s first-ever orbital rocket propulsive landing, space has been on many people’s minds as of late.

This trend isn’t just for scientists and those who enjoy watching the night sky on a regular basis. Enjoyment of this topic includes designers, who’ve been inspired by all this continued exploration of the final frontier. Everywhere you look lately, it seems that designs featuring space have adorned graphics, websites, interiors, and even fashion for a complete sweep, as this movement expands.

The end result is awesome for creative types who can appreciate this new design trend of outer space and constellations.

Characteristics of Design for Outer Space and Constellations

Each design trend is unique, and outer space is no different in that regard—though it boasts qualities that are closer to Star Trek and Star Wars than asymmetry and balance. But before you assume that this design trend is just about the inky, black depths of space and nothing more, think again.

The first takeaway is that it’s an exploration of the unknown. Much of space is still undiscovered, so the design trend takes advantage of this huge mystery by playing on our fascination with what we don’t yet know. This is also a stellar opportunity to fire up the imagination, as, the more you don’t know, the more you’re likely to fill in the blanks with your own ideas.

This segues into the second major theme of outer space and constellations: escapism. The more this design trend gets us to fire up our imagination to explore what could possibly be out there, the more it leads us to a sanctuary of sorts, away from the mundane things we know all too well in the past and present.

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Finally, thinking about outer space and constellations ties into our own reality’s unstoppable advancement of technology. Whether it’s the latest smart-home feature or another news item about an unpiloted drone doing all sorts of remarkable feats, we have to speculate about what the future holds for us. This design trend encourages us to do exactly that, especially when it comes to forecasting whether or not we’ll eventually be able to live and survive on another planet besides Earth, in the near future.

Taken together, this makes outer space a highly intriguing design concept.

Have a peek at just some of our many outer space and constellations digital assets to see what we mean:

Colors

The first notable trait of outer space design is its use of colors. Black springs to mind without a doubt, but that just scratches the surface. Neutral colors abound in this design trend because, well, just think of the expanse of space. It’s filled with clean colors like:

  • Blacks
  • Silvers
  • Whites
  • Grays

Neutrals generally go with most every other color because they’re seen as being able to blend in harmoniously with so many different color combinations. Plus, they don’t inspire much of an emotion—who can say they’ve ever gotten really amped up after seeing a shade of gray, for example?

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Outer space design’s use of colors goes beyond these neutrals, though, to include a small roster of very new shades that will pique your curiosity. These colors appear in a range of mineral shades that highlight the ethereal quality and almost transcendental air of outer space design. These colors include:

  • Purple sage
  • Majolica blue
  • Magnet
  • Thyme
  • Tap shoe
  • Evening haze

As you can see, these newer colors tend to be on the cooler side of the color wheel, giving outer space design a calmer and more soothing hue.

Overall, the colors for this design trend are extremely evocative, tying in nicely to the theme of mystery that outer space and constellations produce.

Abstraction

The thing about space is that we don’t really know much about it. Sure, we send expeditions into it time and again, but the majority of space is a huge mystery to us. It’s because of this cryptic basis that outer space design is so abstract. In fact, it lends itself perfectly to the abstract.

While we have a general understanding of space-related terms like comets, cosmic dust, “nebular” and constellations—just to name a few—how designers interpret these in print and digitally is where things get really interesting.

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Someone’s idea of an astral flash or a nebular composition may well be completely different than another person’s. In short, there’s a lot of room for personal interpretation when it comes to these concepts than, say, the well-defined, global idea of what a horse looks like. That’s because the aforementioned concepts are very esoteric and therefore more abstract in nature.

Of course, objects like the sun and moon are pretty straightforward, though a designer’s interpretation of each can be highly subjective — which again opens the door for an abstract interpretation of both objects.

Motion

Another vital attribute of outer space and constellations in design is the ever-present role of motion. Whether you’re looking at a graphic-design piece or even some interior elements, motion is many times hinted at or quite obvious.

This makes sense when you look at what space is about: different bodies of different sizes, all moving in one way, shape or form. The planets move (rotate on their axes), comets and meteors (heavenly bodies) move at great speeds, and even the stars in the night move, albeit slowly, over the course of the night.

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What motion brings to design is a sense of the dynamic in the form of action. In other words, designs that feature a certain element of motion are by nature more exciting to look at and study. They engage viewers instantly due to their focus on movement.

Outer space designs featuring motion tend to do so by highlighting:

  • Stars of all sizes
  • Spaceships
  • UFOs
  • Astronauts walking on the moon’s surface
  • Astronauts moving freely in space
  • Rockets blasting off
  • Cosmic trails in the night sky
  • Stardust in the night sky

Texture

Take a look at outer space design, and you’ll quickly note the amazing, varied texture in many of its creations. Texture, how a 2D or 3D object’s surface quality is perceived to be, is such a powerful design element because it doesn’t just produce unpredictable emotions in the audience. It also creates an interesting effect that’s hard to ignore.

Whether you’re taking in graphic-design pieces or furnishings designed in the outer space motif, you’re exposed to various examples of texture.

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The texture we’re talking about here sometimes emulates the moon’s rocky and hilly surface, thus creating an unmistakable, celestial effect. Other times, the texture is more implied and therefore visual, such as when designs sport a constellation-inspired theme that creates the impression of a raised surface, when it’s really just contrast at work.

And that brings us to the final, big element of outer space and constellations in design: contrast.

Contrast

Contrast is vital to design: It guides the eye and helps to balance works. Outer space design has its fair share of contrast, primarily because a lot of the backgrounds designers work with are the aforementioned, darker shades of neutral colors, which lend themselves well to having objects in the foreground pop out at the audience.

This is partly because the whole outer space motif does take place in a darker setting (read: the night sky and beyond), but also due to the fact that these darker shades make it easy to use contrast to great effect.

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You could be looking at images of astronauts floating around in outer space or illustrations of UFOs and Martians waving at you; you’ll almost always have a darker background to ensure that these elements stand out and interact with the audience.

Examples of Outer Space and Constellations in Design

A plethora of design applications now feature outer space themes. Here’s a look at some of the most memorable.

Graphic Design

The outer space and constellations motif takes all shapes and sizes when it comes to graphic design. You’ll see more kid-friendly graphics featuring illustrations of happy and smiling aliens along with prototypical astronauts interacting with them. Other digital assets simply have one, major focal point in the frame—like a spaceship or an orbiting planet—and a dark background to make it more dramatic and effective.

The use of colors is also noteworthy: you’ll see many pieces that feature anything from oily black neutrals all the way to hazier blues and more purplish tones thrown in for an overall cool approach to design.

Some creations are even downright educational, as designers have carefully gone out of their way to vibrantly draw and label all planets (including dwarf planets like Pluto).

Others still put an emphasis on stellar composition, arranging all the elements in illustrations in a very balanced way that maximizes the viewer’s appreciation.

Outer space vector graphics are also extremely popular, with many featuring everything from montages of the planets in our solar system and rockets blasting off into space to starry night skies and astronauts milling about in outer space.

Vector graphics are essential for logos, if you want yours to:

  • Be more manipulable for better creative applications
  • Have its colors edited with greater ease
  • Be applied to different-sized publications like brochures, direct mail, and even billboards
  • Be successfully printed from any commercial printer with consistent color matching

Take some inspiration for your next project from our large selection of pieces in outer space and constellations:

Interior Design

Perhaps surprisingly, outer space designs make a notably strong showing in interiors. Part of a new design trend, homeowners are finding it increasingly chic to deck out their living rooms and bedrooms with some space-based themes.

One of the most prominent areas of the home for this trend includes the carpeting. Carpets now feature all sorts of eye-popping and celestial drawings that set your mind to thinking about the stars. Designs include:

  • Straight lines
  • Triangles
  • Zigzags
  • Rays
  • Squares
  • Dotting
  • Circles
  • Waves
  • Curves

Basically, there are many geometric influences that lend themselves well to representing outer space—at least in carpeting.

Besides the floor, other areas of the home receive the outer space love as well.

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Couches now look like they fit perfectly on the lunar landscape, or at least a space station, with their ultra-modern design crafted out of a block of foam.

Then, there’s the revolutionary approach to lighting. If you’ve wanted to make the stairs in your home look like they resemble the swirls and spirals of the Milky Way Galaxy or other celestial shapes, there’s always multi-function step and path lighting. Talk about turning the stairs in your home into a conversation piece!

Websites

Websites that specialize in covering space news are some of the biggest purveyors of this design trend on the web. Prominent examples include NASA’s websites, Science Alert’s Space section, and Space.com.

On these sites, images dominate as the primary way of showcasing the wonders of outer space. Navigate to almost any page on these sites, and you’ll see shots of the moon, expeditions to Mars, space shuttles, the sun, galaxies and black holes.

Color-wise, neutrals like blacks and white abound as perfect backdrops for all the stunning imagery, but there are also the expected cooler shades thrown into the mix.

By and large, these sites cover space from a news standpoint, but there are also sites that actually incorporate the theme of outer space as part of their designs.

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Take Russia’s In Space We Trust, a site that walks site visitors through the important moments in Russian space history. It’s replete with imaginative drawings of space-related objects, slab serif fonts, and a cool, purplish color palette for the ultimate in a soft user experience.

Then, we have Google Creative Lab’s Spacecraft For All. This highly creative site takes visitors through the journey of the American ISEE-3 spacecraft, using design techniques like timelines, videos, and great interactivity.

Finally, take a look at Switzerland’s Why We Explore website about space exploration. Featuring a very inventive, horizontal-navigation technique, the site features an oily-black color scheme and mesmerizing images of space and beyond for an unforgettable user experience. Call it educational and a premier example of great outer space design all in one.

Fashion

The outer space and constellations theme has also made inroads into fashion, which is truly remarkable. Do you want to wear a spiral galaxy on your shirt? How about a bunch of astral and nebular patterns on your dress? If so, then designers around the world are beginning to listen to you.

How’s this for a fast- and best-seller? The constellation mini-dress from Marks and Spencer’s, which initially sold out almost immediately when it debuted for retail sale late last year. Dark blue with wispy and celestial curves and illustrations, it makes a statement about outer space designs right on your person.

Not to be outdone, Swedish retailer H&M sells the so-called Flounced dress, which is a simple, black dress that’s decked out with stars and moons.

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Of course, a fashion statement in this design trend wouldn’t be complete without miniskirts getting in on the action as well. For a pretty penny, you can wear a gorgeous and vibrant pattern that displays a rotating planet, starbursts and a multitude of stars around your waist.

Handbags also get the outer space design treatment. One that stands out, in particular, is J.W. Anderson’s Silver Pierce Clutch, a smaller handbag with a sleek, metallic finish that resembles the spacesuits from science-fiction movies. Whether you’re going out for a night on the town or to an event, you’ll look like you’re carrying a piece of the moon with you.

Shoemakers are also getting their fill of this new design trend. If you’re looking to go to a casual function and need some really comfortable footwear, then Vans has your back. Its Cosmic Galaxy Authentic Lo Pro features an interesting, galactic design infused with some cosmic space dust, just for good measure.

Outer Space and Constellations: A New Design Trend

If you’re looking to get in on the entry level of a burgeoning, new design style, then you should pay particular attention to designs featuring outer space and constellations. This motif is building up more energy and excitement thanks to the recent years’ gains in space exploration. Far from just being for the scientific-minded, this trend shows us that designers can take something firmly rooted in science…and turn it into something creative and artsy.

Whether you want to adorn your latest project with a space-themed graphic design or take inspiration for your new web project’s visuals, there’s something for everyone in outer space and constellation design.


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3 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for featuring my Vibrant Universe Creator! Really interesting article full of wonderful products!

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