International Year of Astronomy posters
Simon Page turned to the Swiss school’s purity of form to celebrate space The constant exploration of geometry in Simon Page’s designs might be explained by the UK-based graphic designer’s degree in applied mathematics – the self-taught creative only moved into design a few years ago.
In October 2009, he created a series of posters after discovering – a little late, perhaps – that 2009 was the International Year of Astronomy (IYA), a global campaign celebrating the study of space.
The posters quickly captured the attention of blogs about both design and astronomy, which led the IYA’s organisers to approach Page and ask to use them. The designs are available to buy as prints, from simoncpage.inprnt.com.
The posters’ impact comes from their careful arrangement of lines and shapes. They’re slightly aged, leading you to question whether they come from 1969, rather than 2009. Page describes them as a “subtle, minimalist retro set of designs. It’s quite tricky to produce a design that is truly believable as a 1960s or 1970s poster – but I think I’ve achieved this.”
Page wanted to contrast with the IYA’s posters, which use detailed photos of outer space. He looked to old science books with mathematical illustrations of gravitational forces and planetary motion.
“The geometry in these designs is quite simple,” he says. “If you look at my other geometric designs, I usually like to do complicated pieces. [The IYA posters], however, needed to have an older look about them and hence I kept to straightforward techniques using circles, ellipses, and straight lines.”
The colours are drawn from the high-contrast schemes of science books from the 1960s to the 1980s – as well as the cover art of Penguin and Gollancz’s sci-fi novels in the 1970s. They were aged using textures scanned from books from that era.
“I rarely see this kind of cover on books these days but it certainly in fitting with the 1970s,” says Page, “which again is exactly the effect I wanted.”
Page continues: “I love #10 (right), which is made up of lots of orange circles on a dark purple background. This piece has such a great colour combination and is a piece I like to get lost in. My overall favourite, though, is a battle between #1 (above right) and #3 (far right) – for me these have the most interesting geometry and fulfil exactly what I was trying to achieve.”