Inside the Wild UI Design of Guardians of the Galaxy

The world of Guardians of the Galaxy is filled with characters of uncertain biological origin defying the laws of Earthly physics. Which is why you'd be forgiven if you didn't notice the incredible UI design in the film, which shows off some of the most bonkers movie graphics in recent memory.

It's all the work of Territory Studio, a four-year-old creative studio based in London that was tapped to create all of the user interface design for the movie, and which uploaded a full reel of its work to Vimeo this weekend. What they came up with is a neon-hued, rapid-fire, data-rich, incredibly complicated series of gestural and screen-based interfaces that look something like a cross between computers of the 1980s and the 2080s.

There's been plenty of conjecture about how entirely fictional UI design in movies actually ends up driving real-life UI down the road. From the earliest interfaces in sci-fi movies to the novel gestural interfaces of movies like Minority Report, the way an audience imagines interacting with technology in the future has an important effect on the way designers end up creating those interactions down the road. Imagine a 16-year-old watching a movie that features a fictional UI from the future. That kid now has a pre-existing idea about how humans will interface with gadgets a decade from now. And if that kid ends up in design, that movie will indirectly effect the way real-life interactions are designed.

You could argue that this is a good thing, and you could definitely argue that it's a bad thing, as the Awl's Christian Brown did last year in this excellent post. But sometimes it's best just to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the complicated, beautiful systems created for worlds and characters that don't even exist. That's certainly the case with this reel from Territory: A series of incredibly complex screens filled with interactions and data that doesn't actually correspond to anything, built for characters who often aren't even human.

Inside the Wild UI Design of Guardians of the Galaxy

It's a little bit like an architect designing a floating house, or an industrial designer imagining Apple's next product. In other words, it doesn't have to be realistic. All that matters is the fun.