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Moon Time In Graphic Design: Cool Lunar Calendars

Posted on 25 July 2015

Maybe it's the long outdoor days of summer, the increased chances of clear night skies, or passing the summer solstice, but I've been thinking about lunar time. Humans have used the moon as a guide for the passage of time since far, far before recorded history. Even as calendars became more technical, recorded, numbered, and scientific, the moon's regular cycle still often held a governing role in keeping our units of time orderly. However, in contemporary timekeeping where business as usual requires standard lengths and numbers of days, the moon is nothing but a ceremonial figurehead. As such, the relative placement of the moon might not seem like an active part of our lives, but for anyone with an appreciation of astronomy, astrology, or seasonal shifts, it can be an interesting and calming reminder of the natural and planetary relationships around us. For women and gardeners in particular, the lunar cycle has very literal applications, with phase changes that correspond to hormonal levels and serious soil business. 

As you'd imagine there are a multitude of ways for visualizing this kind of calendar. Some are as woo-woo and Earth Magicky as can be (Papyrus, anyone?), some offer seasonal planting advice, and others offer seem to take cues directly from graphic design masters. Some emphasize the place of phases within a standard calendar, some place moon status front and center, and some are more interested in visual patterns than time at all. Whether you find the moon a meaningful mystical symbol or an exciting reminder of how far scientific inquiry has come, there's a moon map for everybody. Here are some favorites:

This suggestive and elegant array shows each day of the contemporary solar year along with a simple, clear outer lunar calendar. Designed by Flou Flou in Valencia, Spain. 

Taken in full, this illustrated lunar calendar by artist Chelsea Granger shows the growing seasons and uses of specific healing plants, with hand lettering and watercolored plants from garlic to hawthorne. 

I appreciate the the precise but wiggly style of this moon-equal letter pressed calendar. The simple symbolic calendar next to the standard one shows off the rhythmic nature of the moon's many looks. 

There's a nice tactile take on those symbolic cycles in this round and hole-punched version. Dates are shown by large dots representing 10s and small dots representing 1s, while month is only delineated generally by the changing of the moon. 

I enjoy the interactivity of this weirdo calendar by Caitlin Keegan, which provides full, quarter and half moon status along with spaces to write your thoughts or goals for a particular month. The central face reads upside down so you can flip it around halfway through your year.

For sheer radical visuals, this beautiful collage piece by Astroblack Collective deserves attention. It's beautiful and a little weird, with a lovely take on the notation of months and plenty of astrological goodies and poetry thrown in for good measure. 

But my favorite calendar to date, hands down, is the incongruously named "El Time Machino: a 2015 Lunar Calendar" by Taylor Stout. It's got it all. Helicopters? Check. Dinosaurs? Definitely. Clearly marked months and days, with plenty of room for the lunar cycles to show? Yes and yes. Four-color letterpress printing with glow-in-the-dark ink? Be still my science-hippy heart. 

Whether or not it's past calendar-buying time of year, thoughtful design is always in season. 

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