Exploring the Frontiers of Visual Identity Design as Envisioned by Science Fiction


Speculative Identities Research and Project

Year 2017

The practice of creating marks, to serve as visual identifying devices for things, is one that has been with humans for a very long time. Since that earliest instance of mark making we are aware of—where a single red dot was left on a cave wall by one of our ancestors some 40,800 years ago—our marks have evolved in both purpose and use, up through time alongside technologies and civilizations, finally arriving at the modern logo and corporate identity system as we know them today. And with that journey from dot to logo reaching back so far into our past and taking so many different forms along the way, it's easy to imagine the practice being with us in some manner, far into whatever future we may have ahead of us.

Interestingly enough, imagining the possibilities is already something we’ve been doing… all a person needs to do is look to science fiction, a storytelling genre where imagining a future world or alternate reality often times involves the invention of marks and logos in the process.

It is with all that in mind that I've embarked on this journey with Speculative Identities, surveying the worlds of science fiction in search of the possibilities they present. To see what kind of role visual identities have in those imagined worlds and futures, and to learn how those works can maybe inform the designer of today—who has no shortage of resources for looking behind them at identity design's history, but as far as I could tell didn't have many resources for looking forward at its possible future. In addition, wherever I can determine credit, I'd like to recognize the designers who imagined these identities and share their creative processes.

The Research section is home to everything I can dig up, with whatever help I'm lucky enough to receive, that I happily share as an entertaining and educational resource for everyone that is interested in the intersection of visual identity design and science fiction. The Log is where you'll find news, notes, announcements, and whatever overarching analysis or commentary I can offer. With the Project section (coming soon), I aim to do a little speculating of my own, to see if I can put some of what I learn to work, maybe trekking off into territories that have gone unexplored in existing science fiction storytelling. The idea that I could tell new stories—cautionary, optimistic, or just plain weird—through fictional visual identities of my own design is something I'd like to experiment with, and was the original seed from which this more expansive site has now grown.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions (or just want to say hello) don't hesitate to get in touch. I'd love to hear from you, and it’s always nice to meet people with a shared interest. Ultimately, it’s my hope that visitors to the site will enjoy all of this as much as I enjoy putting it together, whether they learn something interesting from a deeper dive into the material or just have fun casually browsing the designs. And if you find yourself curious enough to follow along wherever I manage to take things over the long haul, know that I'm happy to have you as a fellow traveler.

Thanks for visiting!

A big thanks to supporters and everyone who is helping along the way with information and resources for Speculative Identities Research. And to Rich Bachman, my friend and Chief of Engineering, who developed the site and does the good work of keeping things up and running here.

Roger Strunk, Speculative Identities

  • Roger Strunk

    Roger Strunk
    Designer / Researcher
    Speculative Identities

  • Rich Bachman

    Rich Bachman
    Chief Engineering Officer
    Speculative Identities