Speculative Identities
Speculative Identities

Speculative Identities

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

Logged under Announcements

New Feature: Downloads



I'd like to note a new feature we've added to the Research section of the site today. At the bottom of each entry, in the footer where Sources are shared, you'll now see "Downloads" for some of the entries.

For example, in the Research entry for USCSS Nostromo, I've included hi-res pdf and image documents for the The Authorized Portfolio of Crew Insignias from The UNITED STATES COMMERCIAL SPACESHIP NOSTROMO. This collector's item took some time for me to track down (and it wasn't cheap) so I'd like to make things like this more widely available for everyone, in addition to any other assets I come up with while working on an entry.

So be sure to check down there if you find the identity interesting.


The Research UI Explained



With only a few entries posted thus far, I thought some features of the main Research page might require a bit of explaining—namely, the control bar that appears above research entry cards (currently hidden in mobile views).

As you’ll note, there are options for sorting, filtering and search. And while the functions of the last two are likely apparent, the sorts are something you can’t really appreciate with just a few entries from a single source.

But thinking ahead to a time when our research here will contain a large number of identities catalogued from a variety of sources and science fiction scenarios, I thought it would be both interesting and useful to have the ability to place them in chronological order based on source date or scenario date. That way, it would be easier to comprehend how designs play out over time. From a science fiction perspective, to see them as imagined, from distant past to far future. Or from a design history perspective, based on when they were created for their stories, from present to past. And if a user prefers, a reversal of those timelines is also possible via the UI.

That said, it can sometimes be difficult to place an identity's science fiction scenario on a timeline with known accuracy. So expect a bit of fuzziness, regarding where exactly some entries land.

So that was the thinking and how I'd hoped it would work, once things are really up and running. If anything requires further explaining, and you'd like to see a more detailed explanation of the user interface, visit: Anatomy of the Main Research Page

With an Eye Aimed Towards the Future and Beyond



Well, it looks like we’re on our way.

Today’s launch of Speculative Identities reveals a project that has been months in the making, kicking off the first of several phases that I have planned for what will be an ongoing effort by myself, my Chief Engineer Rich, and whoever else I manage to drag into it.

The overall idea behind the project is one that I’ve been kicking around for a while now—to take my professional interests in visual identity design and my personal affinities for science fiction, and smash them together like some kind of particle experiment, to see what emerges and where it might take me as a designer.

The first phase, that I previously mentioned, is the establishment of an ongoing Research program to see what all can be learned from what's already out there. Of course, there's no fun in not having people along for the ride, so a large part of the appeal in doing the research is sharing the results as a public resource—to spark conversations, meet people, share information and perspectives, educate and inspire designers and science fiction storytellers, help record some design history that may have been slipping through the cracks, help someone with their cosplay, whatever. There's probably a zillion good reasons to put this stuff out there, in one place for people to easily find. And of course, I'll find it fun to do in my spare time.

And while there are currently no plans for commenting on the site, I hope people will engage with the Speculative Identities social media, and email me for direct communications.

So for starters, my aim is to assemble a comprehensive searchable and sortable survey of logos and other identifying marks that have appeared in science fiction—no small task, once you dig in and realize just how many marks are created for the genre, so this will be an ongoing effort. But not stopping there, I’m also going to do my best to analyze these marks and tease out whatever information I can about their design and meaning, their place in the context of their scenarios, as well as their context alongside other identity designs both real and imagined. And wherever possible, to credit the creators of these identities and share their stories.

These Research entries will vary in detail and scope, with some being limited to brief visual overviews. But wherever a given identity merits it, I’ll be doing some fairly long, in-depth write-ups too. For that reason, it is difficult to tell how frequent my posting will be. There could be one big entry in a month, or multiple small ones. I'll do my best to strike a good balance. I'll also note news and matters of interest here in the Log on a regular basis.

And I hope everyone will forgive my writing, as this will be my first serious foray into something like this… apologies in advance if my shortcomings in that department get in the way of whatever knowledge or insights I’m trying to convey. I am a designer and illustrator by trade though, so hopefully my arrangement of graphics and whatever drawings I do make up for all my poor words.

To avoid carrying on too much longer (thank you for making it this far), I’ll just point you to the Info page if you’d like to learn a little more about what I’ve got planned here long-term.

For now, it’s just myself, and my good friend Rich Bachman—a person without which this site would not be possible, as he was kind enough to entertain my crazy idea and help build this thing, and is also on board for seeing the site through to whatever lies ahead. I’d advise you to check out Rich’s other work, especially his photography. And if you have any comments or suggestions about the site’s experience, please feel free to shoot us an email, so we can take things into consideration as we continue to evolve it.

With all that said, the Research entries are going up all week for my first source, the 1990 film Total Recall, which had a surprising number of identities in it. So spread the word, and I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for visiting!

Roger Strunk
Speculative Identities