Origins and definition of the cyberpunk style
Cyberpunk has fascinated and intrigued the world since its inception. But what really defines him. How to achieve a sharp cyberpunk style ? Which ideologies , origins or even designs make up this movement?
Young punk from another world, welcome to the world of skulls. Today we’re going to talk about quirky style, fiction, and contradicting public opinion. 🤘
After reading this article you will know exactly what defines cyberpunk and everything that surrounds it. As well as the spirit and ideology that lies behind one of the most controversial subcultures of our time. Are you ready? Let’s go!
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What is cyberpunk?
Cyberpunk as a genre encompasses a wide variety of visual aesthetics. It began gaining popularity in the 1980s, owing to the work of authors such as Philip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny, JG Ballard, Philip Jose Farmer, and Harlan Ellison exploring the impact of drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution investigated while avoiding the utopian tendencies of earlier science fiction . 🔮
The settings of the cyberpunk genre are numerous. One discovers urban jungles with rich colors, hyperfuturistic urban landscapes with countless neon tubes, just to name a few. The most used themes in the cyberpunk media are the following:
- Artificial intelligence
- The uprising of the classes
- Government and corporate corruption
- Die Anarchy
- The Bandenkrige
- And many others …
The range is wide, but the cyberpunk aesthetic is often used to convey deeper meanings and depict modern society with the aim of making predictions about our future society. 🔭
To define cyberpunk, one could also say that it is a subgenre of science fiction that shows advanced science and technology in an urban, dystopian future. On one side you have powerful mega corporations and private security forces and on the other side the dark, grinding underworld of illegal trade, gangs, drugs and vice. Between all this lies politics, corruption and social upheaval. 😵
Cyberpunk is also a culture with its own attitude and style. Anti-capitalist , anti-brand, tech-savvy – these are just a few of the characteristics that can be found in a cyberpunk.
Origins of Cyberpunk
Cyberpunk began as a literary movement but has since evolved into a subcultural organism. The question « What is cyberpunk? » is complex and its answer is constantly changing with the subculture and our vision of the future. The ideologies that began in the written word have permeated beyond films into all forms of art, fashion and philosophy, spawning a global and ever-growing subculture. 📈
There are several ways to trace the origins of the cyberpunk movementto investigate. The term itself can be traced back to Bruce Bethke’s short story « Cyberpunk ». Then, of course, there are the key authors who are widely believed to have set the foundations of the movement: William Gibson is credited as the founder of cyberpunk. And here are the names of those who followed him: Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley and Lewis Shiner. ✍️
Blade Runner and Neuromancer were convergence events that established the movement’s cinematic and literary birth. Blade Runner influenced and still influences all cyberpunk that was to follow him visually. Just as Neuromancer influenced and still influences all cyberpunk literature .
Definition of cyberpunk
A basic definition of cyberpunk can be given by dissecting the word itself. The term « cyber » refers to technology and is most commonly associated with cyberspace and cybernetic enhancements to the body. However, it can also refer to other technologies, e.g. B. biotechnology and nanotechnology. 🦿
The term « punk », on the other hand, refers to the people and attitude of cyberpunk. The movement’s protagonists tend to be misfits, antiheroes, outcasts, criminals, visionaries, dissidents, and misfits. The underlying aspect that applies to all of these groups is their contradictory and skewed nature.
The cyberpunk genre itself has the science fictionupside down. Being punk means questioning authority and actively challenging any authority we disagree with. An example of this is Motoko Kusanagi from the series « Ghost in the Shell ». Outwardly she appears to be a tool and agent of the Japanese government. That’s true, but that’s not what defines her or how she defines herself. As the series progresses, she is not afraid to take on the people who created her. And taking matters into her own hands if it gets her closer to what she thinks is right.
CyberPunk vs SolarPunk
Cyberpunk was probably the partial inspiration (or rather anti-inspiration) for Solarpunk. The latter is an ideology that also seeks to look to the future, but does so from a much more optimistic perspective than cyberpunk does. ⏳
Both, however, seem to share an apparent disdain for dominant capitalism. In fact, most of the similar countercultures that emerged after the 1980s owe their existence almost entirely to cyberpunk and solarpunk. They are often inspirations that arose from these two movements. Of course, steampunk or dieselpunk are also part of it.
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The Cyberpunk Fashion
This subculture was heavily influenced by films like Johnny Mnemonic , Blade Runner or The Matrix and could be described as « futuristic goth fashion ». A cyberpunk always has the following clothes in his closet:
- Boots (often made of leather)
- Black clothing (often shiny)
- Colorful « dreads » (for women)
Are you a woman and want a cyber look? Then decide on a pair of « »skull pumps » » !
Cyberpunk had a major impact on film and television, notably by inspiring the aesthetics of many films (Blade Runner/The Matrix/Johnny Mnemonic). Or – often American – TV shows (Altered Carbon/Black Mirror/Reboot). And even animes (Akira/Ghost in the Shell). 🎥
There just seems to be something ingrained in cyberpunk’s DNA that makes it incredibly compatible with a lot of speculative future media. Even those aimed at children: considering how many films and cartoons there are out there that are designed to showcase the movement and the people it represents.
Transhumanism is an international philosophical movement dedicated to transforming human existence . In particular, through the development and wide availability of sophisticated technologies designed to significantly improve human intelligence and physiology.
The same philosophy is very similar to the cyberpunk aesthetic in that there is nothing more cyberpunk than becoming a part of the human/machine . There have also been numerous examples of protagonists in cyberpunk fiction who are fully fledged transhumans. The most famous is Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell, who is an example of transhumanism in cyberpunk.
The Ideology of Cyberpunk
A series of quotes will help illustrate the essence of cyberpunk because yes, there is a real ideology hiding behind this movement!
« The future is already here, but it is not very well distributed. » – William Gibson
This quote puts the dichotomy cyber/punk and « high tech, low life » into context. There is high technology today, but this technology has not managed to erase the social divisions, leaving behind a class disparity that leads to social conflictsleads. Also, while this technology exists, the lower class does not have the resources to use it, widening the gap as the rich elite get richer and thus have easier access to the technology. 🧠
« Anything you can do with a rat, you can do with a human. » – Bruce Sterling
This is an important concept. We do terrible things to rats in the pursuit of progress, and we are not impervious to any of them. Lots of cyberpunk plotsdissolve around a kind of manipulation of the human brain that has in fact already been done to the rats. It’s only a matter of time before we start manipulating ourselves in the same way (according to the cyberpunks). The rats are just a taste of what’s to come… 🐀
« The street finds its own use for things . » – William Gibson
This takes the punk/low life aspect of cyberpunk and puts it in the context of no-future punk-Movement. The pace of technological development is so rapid that we create many things that are completely outdated. These things quickly lose their perceived value and are thrown away. And that junk can then be reused in ways the original creators never imagined. And very often in a negative way. ❌
High Tech, Low Life Cyberpunk
Biopunk is a sub-genre of cyberpunk that focuses more on biological technologies such as genetic engineering. Often cited examples are Gattaca and Dark Angel. These can be considered cyberpunk because although biopunk tends to lack the cyberspace and cybernetic aspects that cyberpunk practices, it remains true to the « high tech, low life » aspects. It is a different visualization of the same ideas. 💡
Post -cyberpunk is a modern reaction to the now-obsolete visual qualities of ’80s-inspired cyberpunk. He tends to focus more on transhumanism, space travel, and emerging technologies that were unimaginable in the 1980s.
Have a cyberpunk style
First and foremost, being a cyberpunk means taking a stance. This stance is culturally and socially aware, just like the fiction they derive their name from. They question everything and everyone and decide for themselves what they believe to be true. This path of understanding leads to different worldviews and opinions, but diversity is the key to a cyberspirited and peaceful population. 🙏
A cyberpunk knows the system isn’t in their favor, and the game is played against you from the start if you want to be in their ranks. But a true cyber knows how to hack the system so it doesn’t matter and doesn’t reach him.
A cyberpunk has style. This style can be different for each person. He can be practical (Mil-Tec) or flashy (Cybergoth). The style often reflects the cyberpunk’s personal philosophy and as such can vary widely. There are recurring themes such as traditional punk or even the spirit of 1970s rock ‘n’ roll. Especially in terms of clothing.
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Cyberpunk is now. Many of the things that were planned in the movement back then are being realized today. Improvements in prosthetics and the brain-computer interface have enabled the development of brain-controlled prosthetics, which are a staple of the counterculture. More and more corporations dominate world politics and influence culture, creating a favorable situation for subversion. 🦿
The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer, creating an ever-widening gap. The cyber worldis increasingly merging with the real world through things like the Internet, social networks, mobile technology, virtual and augmented reality. Hackers have brought gangs, corporations, governments and individuals to their knees. We have entered the age of cyberpunk. Warm welcome! ✌️
Cyberpunk has spread to all forms of media and created a subculture, which can be assigned to a simpler genre. Movies, TV shows, comics, music, and cyberpunk artwork are everywhere. You only have to look around… Of course he also influenced fashion, architecture and philosophy. It has become much more than what it was in the beginning. And it will continue to evolve and become more relevant as we move further away from the current movement and towards future cyberpunk .
To dive into the design world of the cyberpunk genre with its cybernetics and fantasy fiction in a dystopian future setting is something absolutely exciting. This world is always exciting, shocking and surprising, so let us guide you through the different elements that make up the magic of this punk subgenre to transform your life into a fantastic future! 🧬
Here are some trends in motion design and the aesthetics it’s bringing to the fore. According to the book Cyberpunk and Visual Culture, the cyberpunk aesthetic is defined by these three factors:
The colors (vibrant neon lights, mostly red and blue).
The Space (gloomy, subterranean but real environments).
The shapes (often geometric).
We’ve listed the different (mainly visual) elements of the different uses of design in the cyber world! Let’s look at that in detail.
The colors associated with this counterculture are mostly dark with light colors to give the interior a bright futuristic look. The main choices are pink and blue with their different combinations: 🎨.
- Neon colors
- Terminal colors (classic phosphor green/amber on black).
- Blue/violet and different shades of green.
- Black and white can also be there.
Note : When choosing a color palette for a cyber decoration, make sure your colors are complementary to each other.
Even the cyberpunk style hasn’t taken the design community by storm like the minimalist style, for example, has. Nonetheless, it has become one of the most popular sub-genres of fantasy style. Designers can use cyberspace to bring a more surreal, futuristic , and radiant feel to their creations.
Need a futuristic logo with a cyberpunk twist? Why not add a point of light or glow to your logo by mimicking the lights on and off of electronics . Your brand could shine like a beacon for the exciting world of tomorrow.
Using a futuristic font can help give your creations a unique look that’s way ahead of its time. Fonts with very straight and robotic shapes are the definition of a good cyberpunk font . The exact opposite of fonts that look as if they were written by hand with a fountain pen. ✍️
Cyberpunk digital backgrounds with gradient geometric elements and core patterns have also become very popular. Almost all patterns that give this look of depth and parallel dimensions are perfect. Use the colors we mentioned just above to ensure you a successful design!
Adopt the cyberpunk style too!
We just saw together what makes the cyberpunk world so futuristic and edgy. You now know exactly what is behind this ideology and how to deal with it. 😉.
Now you must join the movement and embrace a style worthy of the name. There’s nothing better than decorating your cave with colorful skulls . Some glow in the dark. Others bring that special energy that a cyber constantly seeks. Just click on the image below and choose your own.
Adorn your « »deco skull cave for a cyberpunk « » spirit worthy.