Ono-Sendai: Shirts & Such

As part of my JM Hawaiian shirt project, I went through the process of designing a new logo, from scratch, for William Gibson’s fictional Ono-Sendai corporation.

In the 1977 short story “Fragments of a Hologram Rose,” Sendai (sic) manufactures a simstim deck.

In the 1981 “Johnny Mnemonic” short story, Ono-Sendai is a Japanese (and multinational) manufacturer of ‘diamond analogs,’ which I assume are synthetic diamond substances. Coincidentally, there is a Japanese company (Morikawa) keen to acquire the rare blue diamonds in the 1980 Michael Crichton novel “Congo:”

“We are looking for Type II-b boron-coated blue diamonds,” Karen Ross said, “which have semi-conducting properties important to microelectronics applications.”

Crichton says that the blue diamonds are valuable as semiconductor materials (CPUs) and that they may also be used in fiber-optics and light-based / optical / photonic computing.

In Gibson’s 1984 novel “Neuromancer,” Ono-Sendai is a manufacturer of top-of-the-line cyberspace decks as well.

Back to the matter at hand: I’ve made this one-color logotype, incorporating diamond shapes, which seemed fitting:

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.50.55 PM

I’m pleased to see that the orange version works on a good range of dark & medium neutral and cool colors. I’m using the same text treatment for my Hawaiian shirt, but arranged differently. This ‘square’ arrangement was designed to mimic old Asian stamped name seals. I had originally intended the logo to be a cyan-like blue, but I wanted to differentiate it from my Maas-Neotek logo. Like no two companies in the world both have blue logos.

Shirts, hoodies, sweaters, prints & phone cases available at TeePublic:

Ono-Sendai: Manufacturers of fine Carbon allotropes for Industry and Commerce

Happy Birthday, William Gibson!

In an amusing coincidence, one day after I publish my manifesto on a certain cyberpunk Hawaiian shirt, today, March 17, is William Gibson’s birthday.

Gibson wrote the landmark cyberpunk novel Neuromancer, and laid the foundation for much of cyberpunk itself. His short story “Johnny Mnemonic” is the basis for the Keanu Reeves motion picture of the same name. He also wrote two episodes of the original X-Files. His “simstim” concept was ‘borrowed’ in its entirety for the 1995 Kathryn Bigelow / James Cameron near-future cyberpunk movie “Strange Days” starring Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett. Gibson is also referenced in the 1995 movie “Hackers” as the name of the corporate supercomputer. One of his recent novels, Pattern Recognition, is in the process of being made into a movie by the director of The Imitation Game. Gibson also co-wrote a major landmark of Steampunk, The Difference Engine.

Johnny Mnemonic: An Antecedent and a Hawaiian

Before “Johnny Mnemonic,” the 1995 multi-million-dollar blockbuster motion picture, there was “Johnny Mnemonic,” the 1981 short story on which it is based. Though the SS is both very early in cyberpunk history and yet preceded by “Fragments of a Hologram Rose,” (1977), it lays out many of the foundational elements of cyberpunk as we now know it: data smuggling, industrial espionage, a powerful and intercontinental Yakuza, countercultures/subcultures, crime, high-tech assassins, urban decay, body modification, class conflict, and the dichotomy of traditionally high-tech SF elements in an aggressively low-rent setting.

I’m fond of both the film and the short story. The film is a largely faithful translation of the story, containing almost all of the major elements, plus a few extra characters to stretch it out to 90 minutes. One of the elements the film sadly does not contain, however, is a certain shirt:

“…He was outside, waiting. Looking like your standard tourist tech, in plastic zoris and a silly Hawaiian shirt printed with blowups of his firm’s most popular microprocessor…”

As a noted aficionado of Hawaiian shirts, and science fiction, and JM in particular, I want this. I am a professional graphic designer: I can create the art. And thanks to digital print-on-demand websites, I can have it printed on as many yards of fabric as I want. And thanks to my federal income tax refund, I can now afford it. As Gibson is my witness, I am going to do this:

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 9.39.20 PM

By my rough estimates, it’s going to cost me at least $200 US. This will be the single most expensive garment I will own (not counting a couple two-piece suits).

I was going to happily slap my Maas-Neotek logo on the shirt, but to my surprise, they are not mentioned in the story. Ono-Sendai, however is. They get a rather lackluster logo in the film, and I’m in the middle of working up a more stylish logo for them, as you can see in the preview above. Not finished yet.

After analyzing some of my favorite Hawaiian shirts, I’m probably going to have to cut down the number of elements in my background. Most of them have very plain 1 or 2 color, low-contrast, dark backgrounds. You can’t see it in the thumbnail above but I have 6 background and midground elements on my prototype fabric, not counting the obligatory microchip and eventual floral elements. I’m going to go with a dark royal blue + purple background for mine, but I did consider more garish and ‘futuristic’ colors.

I had a bit of fun designing the chip. It’s more inspired by the showy Pentium chips and their packaging than any current or period chip. Drew the shape, extruded and beveled it in AI’s 3D widget, extruded the gold pins, set some type for the face of it. The colors aren’t finalized yet, but it will be mostly gray and gold.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Lucky Dragon, Delta-V and Metropolis

More shirt designs:


Tweaked my Lucky Dragon logo for the millionth time, and came up with a symmetrical Delta-V design for all you physics majors / rocket scientists. And added a combination of elements from Metropolis.

Lucky Dragon Logo

The “Lucky Dragon” chain of convenience stores was created by William Gibson and is used in Idoru and All Tomorrow’s Parties. The company is headquartered in Singapore.

After hours of work over a few days, I’ve come up with this logo:


The general color scheme and LD device are parodies of the 7-Eleven logo and trade dress. The star and crescent are derived from the flag and coat of arms of Singapore.

I was quite happy with the LD and crescent and star alone, but the books say there is a smiling dragon with smoke coming out his nose, so I had to add one. Singapore has a lion logo used for promoting the country, so I turned him into a dragon. The dragon is intended to be a bit cartoonish, like a Japanese cartoon mascot. The ‘retro’ eyes in particular are derived from a Singaporean mascot: Water Wally, of the Public Utilities Board.

Though Gibson seems to set neon pink as one of the company’s primary colors, that’s not often an option on Tee Public, and additionally looks hideous. I have toyed with tweaking the colors to complement a neon-pink or magenta shirt. If that is something you’d be interested in, or perhaps a variation of this combination logo (LD only or dragon only, etc), please let me know in the comments.

Here’s my proposed alternate color scheme, which looks a bit like Dunkin’ Donuts to me:


Strange Days 20th Anniversary: 1995-2015



Another of the spate of mid-90’s sci-fi / cyberpunk flicks (Hackers, Johnny Mnemonic, The Net, Strange Days, Virtuosity, etc), notable for it’s ‘borrowing’ of William Gibson’s sim-stim concept, the acronym SQUID (superconducting quantum interference detectors), prop design work by Syd Mead, quality casting, cool props and unusual POV camera work.

Pics & secrets below the break!

Continue reading “Strange Days 20th Anniversary: 1995-2015”