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10 stellar pieces of design inspired by space

The wonders of the universe never fail to amaze us, and they've been inspiring artists and designers for a very long time. Whether it's the out-there designs of sci-fi, or work informed by the reality of space exploration, the possibilities of space-inspired design are as infinite as the universe itself.

That's why w we've gathered together 12 stunning pieces of extraterrestrial design, featuring graphical celebrations of space missions, artistic interpretations of space itself, a smart branding project and even a stunning piece of VFX work.

01. Zambia Academy of Space Research (opens in new tab) 

Siim's designs give ZAFR an unlikely element of credibility

Siim's designs give ZAFR an unlikely element of credibility

Edward Nkoloso was a teacher who, in 1964, single-handedly set up a Zambian space programme with the aim of beating both the USA and USSR to the moon, and also sending a 16-year-old girl, two cats and a missionary to Mars. Inspired by Nkoloso's work, Daniel Siim has given the Zambia Academy of Space Research the full design and branding treatment.

You'll believe a cat can go to Mars

You'll believe a cat can go to Mars

"Is it possible through design to manipulate a unlikely concept to appear more credible?" he asks. And alongside his official-looking agency logo and spacecraft designs, the sight of a cat in a spacesuit somehow seems a little less unhinged.

02. How Small We Are in the Scale of the Universe? (opens in new tab)

We all know that the the universe is pretty large, but it's still hard to get a grasp of just how staggeringly vast it actually is, and how utterly inconsequential our solar system is – never mind our piddly, insignificant little planet. This animation, directed by Yukai Du, might give you a better idea. It illustrates how the Hubble Telescope looked at an apparently empty little sliver of sky and discovered over 1,500 galaxies.

03. (opens in new tab)

Discover facts about all the space probes dotted around our solar system

Discover facts about all the space probes dotted around our solar system is a gallery showcasing the man-made machines sent out into the solar system and beyond, created by Ariel Waldman and Lisa Ballard. And it looks amazing, thanks to its striking silhouettes and responsive design.

Behind each silhouette can be found interesting facts about each space probe's mission, including the latest news about it and some cool links as well. Plus, if you're after your own 3D printed model of the New Horizons probe, or if you fancy listening to Voyager's 'Sounds of Earth' golden record, you'll find links here.

04. Take risks. Conquer your fears (opens in new tab)

This artwork was inspired by Felix Baumgartner's Space Jump

This artwork was inspired by Felix Baumgartner's Space Jump

Tom Anders Watkins created this colourful piece in just three hours after being invited to take part in a design challenge at an Adobe Creative Jam. Given 'Your Creative Muse' as a brief, Watkins came up with an image depicting Felix Baumgartner's epic Space Jump, which for him acts as a reminder to take risks and conquer your fears. You can see an animated version of the project (opens in new tab) on Behance.

05. Moon (opens in new tab)

Moon is available in light and bold versions

Moon is available in light and bold versions

We liked Jack Harvatt's simple, rounded typeface so much that we featured it as our Font of the Day (opens in new tab). Available in two weights – light and bold – and including extended glyphs, the space-inspired Moon is completely free for personal use; contact Harvatt if you require an affordable commercial licence.

Next page: Five more pieces of space-inspired design

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Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.