Make No Mystique – How Astrology’s Influence Has Spread Like Omicron

ASTROLOGY LESSON TIME: Let’s go back to late 2012 – remember when there was talk of the world ending on 12/21/12 because that date marked the end of the Mayan calendar? I realized recently that 12/21/12 had significance for another major reason – on this date, the Earth’s vernal equinox officially passed from Pisces into the Aquarius constellation, marking the “Age of Aquarius”.

Recently, there’s been a SIGNIFICANT rise in astrological interest. These days, knowing your birth horoscope (sun sign) is not enough – the average Gen Z-er can also recite their moon and rising sign, and [Surprise!], there is also a “sign” for each planet, further fueling our desire to understand ourselves and what makes us unique from one another.

Whether you’ve jumped on the astrology train or not, one thing is certain – it’s impact spreads further than the Co-Star app. Astrology has begun to influence graphic design in a big way.

First and foremost are mystical fonts. Gone are the days of the traditional Garamond and Times New Roman. We’ve tossed those aside for more interesting serif fonts, such as Etoile and Voyage, that feature more dangerous curves and dramatic transitions in stroke weight, as if the characters were inked with a long-tipped calligraphy pen. These fonts have a mystical feel about them, like you’d expect to find them in an 1800’s-style apothecary shop, labeling potions and elixirs.

Above are examples of the fonts Etoile and Voyage.

Take this graphic trend one step further, and you’ve got a defined packaging design style, accepted by:

  • thin-lined, one-color illustrations of hands, suns, moons, botanicals, and animals
  • use of arch-like shapes
  • small tertiary text that’s utilized almost as a background texture or border
  • intricate frames bordering the principal display panel, oftentimes with tiny detailing

I’ve attached some of my favorite examples from the Packaging Inspo Style Category: Mystical. Find me on Pinterest for more clips of Mystical packaging designs! @goldsparkdesign

Examples above are by Peter Francis Laxalt, Hype Group, and Magpie Studio.

Micro-Trend: Filled-In Closed Counter Type

Late last year, as I was soaking up the final season of Insecure, a micro-trend came to my attention: filled-in closed counter type. Let’s back up…

My letterform terminology is too rusty for a can of Coke, but after a bit of Googling, I came across the term “closed counters”. This is the space that is entirely enclosed by a letterform.

Letterforms containing closed counters include uppercased A, B, D, O, P, Q, R, lowercased a, b, d, e, g, o, p, and q, and the numbers 0, 4, 6, 8, and 9. Writing or printing these letterforms is no harder than writing or printing letterforms without closed counters. But when letters are cut out, like on signage, closed counter letters pose a problem, because until sign-making substrates have the ability to float in thin air, how do you display the negative space of the closed counter?

I know this is confusing, so I’ve attached two examples that showcase what I’m referring to.

Notice the line strip that connects the “P”, “0”, and “9” closed counters? Example from SteelandOakLLCShop on Etsy. In the second example, the La Proa sign was cleverly designed to account for attaching closed connecters.

Most sign-makers opt for a thin connecter that holds the closed counter negative space in place. But an even easier solution is to stylistically fill in that hole. It creates a graphic effect that’s so novel, it’s used in other applications where it isn’t necessary. Enter: Insecure.

The show Insecure by Issa Rae is incredible. I won’t go into the character development, script, acting, fashion, or interior design (which are ALL cutting edge). It’s the graphic design that’s most recently caught my attention. Here are different screengrabs from the series that showcase typography with filled-in closed counters.

I’m unsure if this is a worldwide trend or more specific to just this show, or HBO, but it almost certainly evolved from the sign-maker solution of filling in closed counters. Here are other recent examples of filled-in closed counters that have caught my attention. Enjoy!

From left to right: Insecure Season 5, Episode 3; Insecure Season 5, Episode 5; Love Life Season 2 Episode 6; Art of Play Off the Wall Cards sold here [https://www.artofplay.com/collections/playing-cards/products/off-the-wall]; Saari Chocolate packaging design by Renan Vizzotto