International Year of Astronomy 2009 promotional poster by Simon Page
International Year of Astronomy 2009 promotional poster by Simon Page

Math-based designs celebrate 400 years of astronomy

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first glimpse of the night sky with a telescope, and the publication of Kepler’s Astronomia Nova, The United Nations declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. To promote the year-long celebration, they hired Simon Page.

But what is fascinating about this story is that he is a trained mathematician who never planned to work in graphic design. Page graduated university with a degree in applied mathematics in his native United Kingdom. After graduating he worked in London’s financial sector and later in programming & database development. This type of new work brought about the necessity for presentations, and they had to be top-notch–he then did what any mathematician would do and decided to design them himself.

So now he’s found a new career in graphic design.  How? He was inspired by the IYA 2009 celebration and decided to make his own promotional posters for the year-long event. When the staff at IYA 2009 saw his work online, they deiced to take the opportunity to use the posters as the official posters.

Below is a quote from a recent interview with the design blog Grain Edit, where Page discussed the influence of his mathematics background has on his work:

I think maths has inspired me hugely and influenced more geometric designs than I probably would of created otherwise. I also think a lot of artists, like myself, subliminally use mathematics in their creations – such as the golden ratio for creating eye candy layout designs.

I find it very satisfying getting mathematically correct proportions when designing something like a logo, for example. But for me the main connection between math and design is pure and simple, it’s geometry. The golden ratio is probably one of the most popular examples of math and design coming together but look back at the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, for instance, he used mathematics all the time in his art. I also believe some of the best designers work with math, in a number of aspects, even though they probably do it completely subconsciously.

To read the rest of his interview with Grain Edit and see more of his work use this link.

Images courtesy of io9 and GrainEdit.

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