Year of Astronomy poster design

Simon Page is a self-taught graphic designer from the UK with an emphasis on typographic art, illustration and geometric design.

A few months ago he produced a series of posters for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA) campaign. Here’s a selection along with Simon’s commentary.

“I thought that designing some posters would be a good way to promote me and the [IYA] event. I was lucky enough to have the IYA contact me after seeing my designs. They wanted to use them for the campaign.”

astronomy poster design

“This one is based heavily on the sixth and biggest planet in our solar system—Saturn. Saturn has a prominent system of rings which consists mostly of ice particles, recreated using a number of equally-spaced ellipses. I have chosen a perspective that gives a feeling of approaching the planet from below.”

astronomy poster design

“This design incorporates planets half in shade and half in the sun. Rather than create a standard illustration I attempted to make something more geometric and eye catching whilst retaining the retro space feel.”

astronomy poster design

“The circular lines are indicative of gravitational forces around a planet. The thickness of the circles show the strength of the gravitational force and decrease in thickness as you move away from the centre. I find myself getting lost when I look at it. There is something quite intriguing about this design which I never intentionally added.”

astronomy poster design

“This was the original design I created. Some awesome feedback encouraged me to design a series. I’m not sure what really inspired me to create this piece in the beginning. I think I can credit some of it to Tron and the grid that the light cycles race on.

“One aim was to recreate some sort of infinite effect using lines appearing to go back to the horizon indefinitely.”

Simon also shared a few websites and designers he finds inspirational:


FFFFOUND!, Smashing Magazine, Flickr, Abduzeedo.

Graphic designers

Alex Trochut (type illustrator), James White (colour spectrum poster designer), Joshua Davis (programming based designer).

astronomy poster designs

The full series of International Year of Astronomy 2009 posters are available for purchase via: Graphic design by Simon Page.

26 responses

  1. I wonder what about these says “retro” … I don’t see retro. I would call these wonderfully and simply timeless. Why are geometric colored shapes considered retro? I know they are, I just wonder why. They seem terribly appropriate now, just as they were 50 years ago, just as they will be 50 years from today. Perhaps the colors, or the layout, or the lack of poppy colorful imagery … makes us think of design past.

    I like the contrast, metaphorically. We look at space, the great unknown, and see infinite complexity. It would have been easy enough to display flashy astrological imagery with sleek star trek-esk typefaces. I really appreciate how these simplify the subject. That, among the imagery overload we all experience in our lives, makes these memorable / iconic. And I like that a lot.

    As a designer, I reference the past as much as anyone (it’s not a bad thing). I just question why we call it retro. What is modern but a mix-matched assembly of things that have been done, in some form or another, before.

    Great work Simon.

  2. Hi David, I have been following you for about a month on twitter and i have read many of your articles in your blog and now, 3 minutes ago i saw these posters, wow! let me tell you that i really really admire the work.

    I am an architect and in certain way i understand how difficult it’s to simplify an idea to create something that it is completely creative and beautifully simple!
    thank you for sharing your work and that of others! These posters are truly amazing!

  3. These are simply fantastic. If “retro” means lack of gratuitous fake-lighting Photoshop filters, then I’m all for retro. Here, we have some fantastic compositions and great color schemes. I would not say retro, but I would say elemental. A filter on a bad design is like lipstick on a pig :). I for one have had enough of an eyeful of jumbled up Photoshop brushes slathered randomly and clustered together with glowing rainbow colors and sparkles with oversized gradient-filled type set in Gotham. Poor Gotham!!

    What I do like about these images, all negative talk about filters aside, is the weathered and printed look. Rather, they look like photographs of posters that have been printed on a uncoated sheet of paper with low ink density. I’m just going to assume that this effect is in fact either a filter or simple texture applied to the shapes or the overall composition.

    Well done!

  4. These are absolutely beautiful, great work as individual pieces and as a series. Saturn is my favorite, although it’s not the biggest planet in the solar system, as that distinction belongs to Jupiter. Saturn is, without a doubt though, the coolest looking.

  5. Ha ha, Douglas. Good god no, grunge and PS filters would just be trash (gradients are acceptable on occasion). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t find these posters offensive, but to me the type treatment is amateurish and not in sync with the illustrations (which seem promising, but not there yet to my eye). I’m a huge fan of stripped-down, minimal design, but I think these just look thrown together…

  6. I must say I’m an absolute sucker for this kind of design style. Every detail is thought out, they’re stunning. I’d love one for my wall.

    If you don’t love this kind of stuff then me and you ain’t gettin’ on.

  7. Yes, these are just brilliant. And to think – this whole series began with a single concept that he was just playing around with!

    It’s really great to have Simon’s comments posted here along with his work. Thanks for another source of inspiration, David.

  8. I think these designs capture the very essence of what designing posters is all about. I’m pretty fed up with poster designs that are mere “Photoshop explosions”, with very well produced, yet very unconceptual in nature. These, however, get straight to the point and are a joy to look at.

  9. Love, love, LOVE these posters. Simple, modern with a kick back feel to them.

    I particularly love the one based on Saturn, but, the entire bottom row of thumbnails make a great set.

    Great work. Cheers!

  10. Absolutely love the colours used in these, especially the planets in half shade poster. Don’t suppose I could have a pdf of that to stick a large poster of that on my wall! Great work.

  11. I love the simplicity of these posters. This is a clear example of when less is more. Mr. Page’s commentary also gives us very nice insight. Thanks for sharing them with us.

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