Moodboard Series: Space Age Design
A very public space race captivated the world's imagination in the 60s and continues to inspire futuristic designs today.
The Space Age kicked off in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik (the world’s first satellite) by the Soviet Union. This led to what is referred to as the ‘space race,’ where the US faced up against the Soviets to see who could create the better space-flight technology and ultimately to see who could be the first to send a person to the moon.
Politics aside, this age of competition around space travel ultimately led to many great technological advances for both sides. The knock-on effect is that this gave us all very useful “spinoff” technology as a result. A vast number of products that were created for use in space eventually made their way into our everyday lives with things such as GPS systems, LED lighting, memory foam, and even laptop computers all having their origins in the space race.
This very public space race captivated the imagination of people all around the world, and a trend for futuristic designs inspired by space travel emerged. Pop culture as a whole began to embrace all things space travel and sci-fi as we saw everything from architecture popping up that resembled the shape of UFOs to cars that looked more like rocket-ships, fashion that could have come from another planet, and interior designs that started to use completely new bold shape forms.
As the Space Age continues to evolve and move into a new era, we see new private companies beginning to set their sights on space and space travel with the likes of SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin continuing to capture the imagination of a new generation of scientists, engineers and designers alike.
The topic of space exploration is certainly back in the spotlight, and we wanted to put together some space age moodboards to help inspire you and highlight some wonderful space age products from here on the marketplace that fit with each theme. First up, we have…
During the original space race in the 1950s, a number of different design trends popped up that looked to pull ideas from the very technology that was sending satellites and eventually people into space.
Trends such as Atomic Age Design, Googie Architecture, and Retro Futurism all had a sort of colorful, rounded, industrial feel to them that could be sometimes be seen as quite playful and cartoonish. The shapes used were often made to mimic those of rockets, wings, spaceships, this is especially true with the Googie Architecture movement, you can see some heavy influences from space age tech with bold colors and bright lights — the famous Las Vegas sign is characteristic of the Googie Architecture movement.
Color Palette: #dcaf38, #342e41, #88a28b, #d55b1c
Moving away from the colorful and sometimes garish designs of the early space age, we then started to see more modern and tasteful interpretations of the future that featured a clean, ultra-modern, minimalistic style, with sweeping lines, geometric shapes, asymmetry, and soft neutral colors and lighting. This aesthetic is used particularly well within interior design, where you see sleek, modern designs cranked up a notch with some futuristic elements worked in without being too over-the-top.
Color Palette: #e6eaed, #1a37fe, #0d1114, #b7aca0
Science Fiction has continued to grow in popularity over the years, with some of the most popular movies of all time coming out of the sci-fi genre, with big hitters like Star Wars, ET, Minority Report, and ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ all having a strong space theme. Science fiction books, movies, comics, and video games have given us crazy new worlds to explore, strange new monsters to fear, and unique methods of travel to discover.
Even though they are not grounded in reality, these make-believe futuristic worlds and inventions still require some real creative design thinking when it comes to representing them on screen. Set designers need to build other-worldly interiors, UI designers need to dream up complex interfaces for non-existent systems and fashion designers need to imagine how uniforms and outfits of the future might look. All of these make-believe items eventually leave their impression on the wider world of design and the trend makes use of bold neon lights, sharp angular fonts, futuristic interfaces, grids, and holograms.
Color Palette: #e6e6e8, #79ebf2, #0d1114, #e71f61
One of the more fascinating aspects of space is less to do with our own involvement in space and more to do with observing the universe from the comfort of our own planet. Stars and Constellations have been found painted on cave walls that could be anywhere between 12,000 to 40,000 years old [source] — so it’s safe to say the sky at night has captured the imagination of humans for a very long time now, and it continues to do so to this day. As technology has advanced, more and more of the universe has become visible to us, with planets, stars, constellations, black holes, and supernovas all contributing to a vast and beautifully mysterious solar system.
Color Palette: #ffe3b2, #191510, #6b6078, #dfdfdf
More Space Age Design Resources
While researching this topic and curating products, I’ve collected over 120+ high-quality, handpicked Space Age-inspired products and put them all together in one place, so if you are looking for more well-made items in this style, please check out the Space Age Collection that I put together.
The Moodboard Series
If you enjoyed this roundup and want to explore similar posts in this same format, please check out the Moodboard Series here on Creative Market for more moodboards across various topics and trends.