Post-apocalyptic design: Imagining the end of the world

It’s no news that we’re living in difficult times. Covid-19 has had a tremendous impact on our lives. We could never have imagined the terrible consequences of living through a global pandemic: physical, emotional and financial. 

Millions of people around the world have been affected by the restrictions at best, and at worst have suffered serious health problems and even lost family members or friends very suddenly. Some have also had to close their businesses, give up their projects or have lost their jobs. 

The situation doesn’t seem to be improving either – the war in Ukraine coming on top of all the existing conflicts, inflation, widespread drought and the sight of a major economic recession don’t exactly help to generate optimism. 

Against this backdrop, we’re surely not the first people (and we won’t be the last), to find ourselves visited by ideas of a post-apocalyptic world. Empty, decaying streets and buildings where life has given way to dreary existence, where humanity has lost its meaning and apprehension takes over day-to-day life. 


Films such as Blade Runner, the Mad Max saga and series such as The Walking Dead are just a few of the adaptations portraying bleak futures that have captivated large numbers of viewers. 

But it’s not only cinema and the small screen that have taken advantage of the idea of the end of the world – a very popular theme in the science fiction genre that provides plenty of scope for creativity. 

How do you imagine the end of the world?

We see post-apocalyptic scenes as those that reflect scenarios in which humanity is overcome by a social collapse of any kind, from a world war to a nuclear attack, a natural catastrophe or a global pandemic. 

The common denominator is that society as we know it today disappears to make way for an inhospitable environment, including the creation of a new world order and a new civilization. 


But it doesn’t all have to be negative. If there’s one thing that demands creative solutions, it’s survival in extreme environments, which is why the end of the world is one of the most inspiring concepts for artists around the world. 

Leeda’s post-apocalyptic scenes, Filip Hodas’s dystopian scenarios and fossils, and Scott Listfield’s visits to incredible astronaut locations are examples of this. 

Creative ways out of the apocalypse

What’s clear is that every apocalypse brings with it opportunities. So don’t despair: your creativity and your work will have a lot to contribute to surviving this collapse!

As the saying goes: “Hunger sharpens the wit”. Never a truer word! Extreme situations call for change, innovation and, above all, a lot of creativity in order to move forward. 

Your role as a designer is going to be very important in this respect, as many companies will change and reinvent themselves, and new ones will be born – all of them will need to create their brand image. You’re going to have a lot to contribute. 

Communication methods will change and with them will come new communication tools and platforms which, without a doubt, are going to need designers to create content. Who better than you? 

Companies will have to compete for their target audience, implement marketing, design and campaign creation plans to reach their audience. And again, designers will be in demand.

Design your own post-apocalyptic world

If all of the above hasn’t convinced you and you still think the apocalypse will come and leave behind it a totally unrecognizable world, you can just follow the trend and create your own post-apocalyptic scenario.


Here are a few of the elements that these creations almost always share and that bring with them incredible visual results: 

  • Cities have been practically reduced to rubble. Many of these scenarios show semi-destroyed and uninhabitable buildings, where the cities as we know them have been devastated.
  • Space bases or off-earth scenarios. At other times the disaster results in the appearance of new scenarios, even new planets to inhabit. 
  • Nature takes over abandoned spaces and pollution often appears as one of the greatest threats to society. 
  • Humanity is affected by biological threats, usually a virus, which destroys, mutates or radically changes the shape and appearance of people. 

We’re sure we’ve left out many elements that you’d include in your idea of a post-apocalyptic future, but don’t worry because Freepik puts all the graphic resources you need to create it at your fingertips.  

So get down to work may the end of the world catch you designing 😉