Humans have always been fascinated by outer space, wondering if there is other life out there, and if so will we ever get to join forces with them and share our different technologies.
From what we do know about our own solar system and visible galaxies, etc, we can create beautiful art whether it is done from imagination or from night photography. Using space-inspired backgrounds and elements in web design gives a futuristic or highly technical feeling to a site, or if done in vector images, it can give the idea of education.
Here is a selection of sites that use outer space images in their web design.
Larva Labs develop mobile apps, and give the impression of being ‘ahead of their time’ with their space-inspired background of a star-filled sky and a couple of stylized planets.
Another digital agency using a full screen animation of a large planet rotating on a night sky background. The rest of the site is designed in mainly black, white and their logo yellow.
Destiny Planet View
Destiny is an action game, and this site dedicated to it shows shots from the game that highlight the game maker’s idea of what the surface of the planets of our solar system look like – of course, they have been helped by such associations as NASA who are able to photograph many of the planet surfaces. Clicking on each planet takes you to the shots of that part of the game.
This freelancer uses a large background photo manipulation, a sky above the clouds with a planet and some animated stars moving upwards. The brown/sepia overlay gives a retro-style appearance, and the retro font and beige color is the theme throughout the site.
A small design agency, Nocturn uses a night sky as the background for it’s site. As you scroll down the page, the background becomes solid dark blue, and the orange and white theme continues throughout.
Blue Engineering Blog
This is the blog site of the Romanian web agency Blue Engineering. The whole site is presented in a scribble-style, and the full screen image of planets and space ships on a night sky is also in that style.
The portfolio site of this Romanian graphic designer has a hero area image that is a pretty surreal photo manipulation, including a night sky and a planet, a surfer, a parrot, a wrecked car, a hot air balloon and the designer himself (presumably), and possibly more items that I didn’t notice!
Diamonds in the Sky
Of course, by the name we can tell that this will be a night sky background. This is a fun site presented by 77Diamonds.com. You can create your own, named star, or explore the stars that others have created and named.
Walkr – Galaxy Adventure in Your Pocket
A mobile game for iPhone, this site would quite obviously use space-inspired images throughout the site. Here is some of what they say about the game: “Hop aboard the fantastic Walkr spaceship and start your adventure across the boundless cosmos. On a rocket built by an 11-year-old genius, you’ll use your ‘walking energy’ to fuel the ship, allowing you to discover more than 25 fascinating planets, like Caramel Apple, Octopus Cavern, Heart of Flames, and more! Throughout the universe, you’ll also encounter delightful lost space creatures who will need your help along the way. It’s truly the adventure you’ve been waiting for!”
This is another site that would, of course, have space-related images due to the very nature of their work. This is the only NASA site included in this roundup.
This freelancer uses this Orrery image on his home page, and it is apparently a scale model of our solar system and is an experiment in CSS animation. It is very effective, and I suppose the reason for using it is that it shows his development skills.
Next On ETTV
Another site that would obviously use outer space images as the ETTV stands for Extra Terrestrial Television.
Emerging Earth Community
This site is calling for people to get involved in ‘responding to the challenges in this critical moment of Earth’s history. It is an effort to broaden understanding of the complex nature of current environmental concerns so as to respond with longer term perspectives and goals.’
World Arcade is a project that aims to give Flash, Unity, Java and iPhone game developers a way to make a living from their creations. World Arcade will provide facilities for you to generate income, along with resources and collaboration tools to get your projects done. They are currently looking for beta testers.
Tomas Bata University in Zlin
Surprisingly this is the landing page for a university. If you follow through the slideshow of questions, you will end up with a quite comical synopsis of your character and your destiny – presumably this is so you know what you should study at the university. An animation of white stars on a black background is present on all question pages, and planets are also present as you go through the slides.
Blancpain Ocean Commitment
You wouldn’t necessarily expect a site dedicated to exploring the world’s oceans to feature space-inspired images, but this one does. The surface of the Earth revolves on a night sky background on this landing page, with location pins in areas of the oceans.
This is a French collective of 15 creatives. The landing page has this rather strange image of a skeleton in a space suit walking on the moon!
Another collective of 4 designers who claim to make everything ‘wild’. A space man floating around outer space is their full screen home page image.
Pretty Lights Music
Pretty Lights are a music band, and their landing page image is a beautifully stylized cityscape set against a night sky including stars and planets.
Instica is a startup company that gathers data for clients. They use a full screen background image on their home page of a night sky with connecting lines joining across planet Earth.
This site uses a beautiful vector image of planets, space craft and flying rocks.
Space inspired images are something of a dying trend in web design. They will not die out completely because sites like NASA will need to keep using them. I think they have a place in web design, and they do convey feelings of advanced technology and the future, which is a good image for designers and developers particularly.
So if you would like to re-ignite this trend in web design, here are a few free-to-use space-inspired images to get you started.