Research

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

Original Entry 03.16.2020

The Network

Category

Government, Human Supremacy, Media, Militia

Scenario Date

Year 2107

The Network is a corporate media conglomerate that controlled all media outlets in what remained of the Independent Northern States (INS) after the Multi-Wars, which allowed them to sway public opinion among humans against the robot population. This paved the way for a violent uprising, where militias led by The Network destroyed robot citizens and took control of the government in a coup, making the INS a fascist police state.

Identity Designed by

Josan Gonzalez

Source

  • The Future is Now 2 (2017 art book)

Overview: The Network Identity


Intro: The Network

In the world of The Future is Now, Josan created the Independent Northern States (INS) as an extremely dystopian far future take on the United States. After the Robotic Union, it was the second nation to recognize robot rights after the machines gained sentience.

Following the Multi-Wars, INS was a nation in deep distress. All of its largest cities were wiped from the map by nuclear attacks, or lost to climate change’s rising seas. Shortages of food, energy and raw materials had it locked in a permanent state of economic depression. Social unrest and discontent among the citizens, especially humans, was at a peak.

In the midst of this, The Network, a giant media conglomerate that was acquiring all television and news outlets in the INS, was spreading a dangerous political message with humans as the audience. “What if we didn’t have to share our scarce resources with robots? If there were no robots, you would be able to feed your family. Robots are the problem.”

When their control of the airwaves was total and complete, The Network then released fake news reports and forged documents to implicate the robot population in plans to exterminate humans and take everything for themselves. They advocated the overthrow of the human/robot government and the destruction of all robots, and used Network run militias to set things in motion, in what became known as “the Days of Rage.” No robots were spared.

After the overthrow of the INS government, The Network assumed control, and the state and media became a single entity. The INS would become a fascist police state under The Network, with the citizens forced to consume a quota of daily TV programming from their government issue Mega_box, and show trials that took the form of a game show called “The Game is Death.”

Much thanks to Josan Gonzalez, aka Deathburger, for answering my questions and sharing the inspiration behind the symbols and logos he created for The Future is Now 2.

<p><strong>Figure 1.1</strong> The Network rules the INS from New Dallas, the only major city to survive the Multi-Wars. </p>

Figure 1.1 The Network rules the INS from New Dallas, the only major city to survive the Multi-Wars.

<p><strong>Figure 1.2</strong> Citizens are forced to consume a prescribed amount of television, metered by a Mega_box, which is seen atop this tv set.</p>

Figure 1.2 Citizens are forced to consume a prescribed amount of television, metered by a Mega_box, which is seen atop this tv set.


Usage: The Network Identity

<p><strong>Figure 2.1</strong> The Network corporate logo appears on the right side of the government issue Mega_box, which monitors media consumption.</p>

Figure 2.1 The Network corporate logo appears on the right side of the government issue Mega_box, which monitors media consumption.

<p><strong>Figure 2.2</strong> In the same scene, we see the logo on a TV card, and on the vest of someone in a photo, where a robot’s image has been defaced.</p>

Figure 2.2 In the same scene, we see the logo on a TV card, and on the vest of someone in a photo, where a robot’s image has been defaced.

<p><strong>Figure 2.3</strong> In a live televised debate, where the Robo-President gets his head ripped off, we see the logo on the backdrop.</p>

Figure 2.3 In a live televised debate, where the Robo-President gets his head ripped off, we see the logo on the backdrop.

<p><strong>Figure 2.4</strong> Members of the militias activated in the Days of Rage, wear the logo for The Network on their coats, on the right or left breast.</p>

Figure 2.4 Members of the militias activated in the Days of Rage, wear the logo for The Network on their coats, on the right or left breast.

<p><strong>Figure 2.5</strong> The Network logo is worn by the host of “The Game is Death,” and seen on screens that appear on set. The show is a televised trial, where everyone is sentenced to death.</p>

Figure 2.5 The Network logo is worn by the host of “The Game is Death,” and seen on screens that appear on set. The show is a televised trial, where everyone is sentenced to death.

<p><strong>Figure 2.6</strong> The show dumps “traitors” in the ruins of a megacity now known as The Warzone. The Network logo is displayed for the sake of the viewing audience, as those who are sentenced face death by maniac killers.</p>

Figure 2.6 The show dumps “traitors” in the ruins of a megacity now known as The Warzone. The Network logo is displayed for the sake of the viewing audience, as those who are sentenced face death by maniac killers.

<p><strong>Figure 2.7</strong> The Network logo appears throughout The Warzone, on TV cameras and banners.</p>

Figure 2.7 The Network logo appears throughout The Warzone, on TV cameras and banners.

<p><strong>Figure 2.8</strong> When the former INS marshals and Sai escape The Warzone, we see The Network logo on a hijacked aircraft in the background.</p>

Figure 2.8 When the former INS marshals and Sai escape The Warzone, we see The Network logo on a hijacked aircraft in the background.


Usage: The Militia Symbol

<p><strong>Figure 3.1</strong> Human supremacy militias run by The Network, identify with the cross potent symbol, which they display on belts and bags in this scene.</p>

Figure 3.1 Human supremacy militias run by The Network, identify with the cross potent symbol, which they display on belts and bags in this scene.

<p><strong>Figure 3.2</strong> Miltia members also wear armbands bearing the symbol, and dress in blue uniforms — a combo with fascist overtones.</p>

Figure 3.2 Miltia members also wear armbands bearing the symbol, and dress in blue uniforms — a combo with fascist overtones.

<p><strong>Figure 3.3</strong> The cross potent is displayed on gloves and coats as well, as we see in this scene from the 9th Precinct shootout with INS marshals.</p>

Figure 3.3 The cross potent is displayed on gloves and coats as well, as we see in this scene from the 9th Precinct shootout with INS marshals.

<p><strong>Figure 3.4</strong> There is one instance, where we see the militia symbol displayed by a non-combatant — the host of “The Game is Death” wears it.</p>

Figure 3.4 There is one instance, where we see the militia symbol displayed by a non-combatant — the host of “The Game is Death” wears it.


Design Analysis

The Network’s corporate logo consists of an uppercase letter “N” centered on a left leaning parallelogram. The use of an initial is similar to what we find with the largest present-day TV news networks in the US (Figure 4.1) — all of these networks use logotypes for their visual identity, many of them featuring initial abbreviations, with the notable exception being Fox News.

Despite that difference, Fox News appears to be the closest real world analog to The Network, based on its politics and the narratives it pushes. And there is a connection between the Fox News corporate identity and that of The Network, in the colors they use for their brands. Fox News uses red, white and blue, the national colors of the United States, to appeal to a conservative audience. In the Independent Northern States, we see red and blue used for the uniform dress of the human supremacy militias that are run by The Network (Figure 4.2).

The visual connection draws a line between the two, where a connection in tactics also exists — the opinions and reporting of Fox News use bigotry, fearmongering and deception in a similar fashion to what we find with The Network, as they aim to demonize robot citizens in the INS.

The symbol of the human supremacy militias is the cross potent, a form of heraldic cross with crossbars at the four ends. The cross potent has seen use in European coats of arms, and in 19th century literature, it was also known as the "Jerusalem cross" due to its appearance in the coat of arms attributed to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Network militia members wear it on red armbands, and uniform accessories like belt buckles and gloves. Josan wanted to give the militia an “aura of religious zealotry” as if they are on a “crusade against robots/artificial life.” This is also represented by a high ranking militia figure who, for ideological reasons, has chosen not to replace his lost arm with an “impure” robotic prosthetic (Figure 4.2).

In a general sense, the symbol, armbands and uniform dress are reminiscent of visual identities history has seen from fascist movements, like the Nazis for example. There is even a specific instance to note, where in 1930s Austria, the cross potent was used by the conservative clerico-fascist Fatherland Front (Figure 4.3). But with the INS being a reimagining of the US, it is easy to see The Network and their human supremacy movement as an analog for white supremacy and racism, which was Josan’s intent. Like all sci-fi about the future, it is really about the present, and racism has been an ever-present reality in America. And like The Network and its militias, who created an all-human state in the fictional INS, there exist movements and militias in reality that want to realize a future where the US is a white ethnostate, by inciting civil war and overthrowing the government.

The Network is also partially inspired by a totalitarian government from The Running Man — a 1987 sci-fi film set in the year 2019. In that film’s dystopian future, all US television media was a product of the state, known as ICS (Figure 4.4). It is never stated just what ICS is an abbreviation for, but it is often referred to as “the network” by characters in the film. A televised game show ICS uses to pacify the masses, called “Running Man,” is central to the film’s story, and also inspires “The Game is Death” that we find in The Future is Now 2. Both send those that they deem criminals to an arena to be hunted and killed for entertainment, and The Network’s logo sees similar applications to that of ICS, as it is applied to signs, lights and cameras in their arena (Figure 4.5).

The Running Man was among many things, a critique of American television culture — a culture that continues to play a role in steering the country farther and farther into dystopian territory to this day, as we find ourselves with a president that was once a reality tv star and a news network that acts as a mouthpiece for the state — and from what we see with The Network, The Future is Now 2 is a nod to the film’s prescience.


<p><strong>Figure 4.1</strong> The Network logo uses an initial. Initial abbreviations are common among US news networks — Fox News being the exception.</p>

Figure 4.1 The Network logo uses an initial. Initial abbreviations are common among US news networks — Fox News being the exception.

<p><strong>Figure 4.2</strong> The Network echoes what we find in our lived in present with Fox News, which blurs the line between news media and state propaganda.</p>

Figure 4.2 The Network echoes what we find in our lived in present with Fox News, which blurs the line between news media and state propaganda.

<p><strong>Figure 4.3</strong> The cross potent symbol on display, at a Fatherland Front rally in 1936. Source: <em>Wikipedia</em></p>

Figure 4.3 The cross potent symbol on display, at a Fatherland Front rally in 1936. Source: Wikipedia

<p><strong>Figure 4.4 </strong>The Network and its game show The Game is Death is inspired by ICS and its show, Running Man. Source: <em>The Running Man</em></p>

Figure 4.4 The Network and its game show The Game is Death is inspired by ICS and its show, Running Man. Source: The Running Man

<p><strong>Figure 4.5</strong> The usage of ICS’ logo in Running Man’s battle arenas inspires some of what we see in The Warzone. Source: <em>The Running Man</em></p>

Figure 4.5 The usage of ICS’ logo in Running Man’s battle arenas inspires some of what we see in The Warzone. Source: The Running Man


<p>Cover image for <em>The Future is Now 2 - Neon Rising</em></p>

Cover image for The Future is Now 2 - Neon Rising

THE DESIGNER: JOSAN GONZALEZ

AKA DeathBurger

Illustrator, Architect and Grand Maker of Pizza. Head Archivist of The Ministry of Information of Robo-City Prime, Robotic Union. Designated by The Machine to manage the New Citadel 9, an independent publishing house that releases all The Future is Now related books, prints, original art and merchandise.

Rituals performed at:

Dynamite Entertainment, Boom! Studios, Dark Horse, Games Magazine, Agat and Cie Films, Medium Corp, Editora Aleph, Wired Magazine, Avex Music Group, Paramount Pictures, RoadSec, Harmonix Systems, Metallica, Mondo, Pearl Jam, CDProjekt Red.

Ocassionally summoned at:

3D Total's Sketching from Imagination: Sci-Fi, ImagineFX (FX Posé, March 2016)

To learn more, visit:

Official Website

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