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  • Marc Primo Warren


Updated: Mar 11, 2021

This is an article “How Cyberpunk Colors Took the Industry by Storm” by Marc Primo Warren

Cyberpunk palettes made a retro comeback in 2020, not only with the release of the highly-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 video game, but also for making it to last year’s annual Visual Trends guide courtesy of Somehow, the neon dystopia themes from both the report and the video game struck a power chord with both millennial and Gen Z consumers in terms of digital assets.

Do you remember when Cyberpunk originally made its way into the mainstream? Here’s a look back at everything you need to know about this awesome theme.

Most people will think of flashy neons outlining skyscrapers and deserted city streets when they hear about Cyberpunk. Not to be mistaken for its close thematic relative steampunk which integrates elements of machinery with elegance, Cyberpunk is a more celebrated concept of neon colors and design that has built communities around film, fashion, and art circles everywhere. One look at a design and you’ll instantly be transported to an ‘end of days’ ambiance with the flashing neons of tech seemingly adding life to what is rather dull, and gloomy on the canvas. It presents a marriage of development and decay, old and new, bright and dark.

The history of this enigmatic concept dates back to after World War II when electronics were in its early stages and people were fascinated with the many possibilities it could bring. Soon, science fiction tales of androids and flying cars became more prevalent in certain art circles which eventually gave birth to Cyberpunk. One can trace its roots to authors Philip K. Dick’s imagining of the concept via Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968) set in a post-nuclear fallout of San Francisco, which eventually was adapted into film as the box-office hit Blade Runner (1982).

Soon, more filmmakers and artists adapted the concept in such films as 1984’s Neuromancer and in the 1988 anime Akira, creating tropes that refuse to die out with time and generations. From then, hundreds of contemporary corporate logos have used the neon colors of the theme in their brand guidelines, while fans link art to reality by suggesting how we are now living that dystopian future that was created by Cyberpunk in the ‘80s through Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology. Somehow, they are right which makes the theme all the more impactful for today’s generation.

By the turn of the new millennium, hits like The Matrix series further pushed the Cyberpunk envelope into the mainstream along with video games. Artists such as Michel Clansen and Bráulio Amado also used its elements in their respective designs to capture the world’s imagination and bring out the aesthetic merits of digital technology when integrated with retro futurism.

And as the theme evolved through time, scholarly articles depicted Cyberpunk design as a medium to shift the focus on social injustice and serve as a reminder that if we do not act against it, then the closer we are to the true dystopian future it presents.

Today, Cyberpunk continues to prove its significance in designs that signify anti-corporate domination, as well as the rebellion against drunk power, megalomania, and corruption. More importantly, however, it gives people hope to rise above all of the mania as many Cyberpunk stories have suggested in the past. If you want to find out more about Marc Primo Warren our services or just say hi, please reach out here.

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