Dorothy H. Hoover Library

OCAD University

“Future Screens are Mostly Blue”

November 27th, 2013 · No Comments · General Posts

Sci Fi fans and/or design students may be interested in reading the article “Future Screens are Mostly Blue” by Roman Mars at 99% Invisible about the design of computer screens as portrayed in science movies.

The conclusion that depictions of futuristic screens are mostly blue was determined by Chris Noessel and Nathan Shedroff, authors of  Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons From Science Fiction, through a comprehensive empirical study of interfaces in science fiction movies from 1968 to 2011 (Yes! That sure is a lot of work!) Below is the average colour of interfaces per year in science fiction movies.



  • What are your design considerations for interfaces?
  • Do you think that blue is the colour most often chosen because, as the article posits, blue is one of the rarest colours in nature?
  • What would your futuristic interface design look like?
  • What do you wish was a technological gadget that existed? (Maybe you can design it!)


Books to help with design or to pique your interest in science fiction – available at OCAD U!

Cases on Usability Engineering: Design and Development of Digital Products by Miguel A. Garcia-Ruiz (Ed.) Call no. NC968 F74

This book provides readers with case studies and real-life examples on usability methods and techniques to test the design and development of digital products, such as web pages, video games, and mobile computer applications.

The Designed World by Richard Buchanan, Dennis Doordan, and Victor Margolin (Eds.) Call no. NK1520 D3

We now live in a designed world and we need to develop a better understanding of how to discuss and critique its design components. The essays presented here — selected from the preeminent journal, Design Issues — are intended to enhance our collective understanding of the wide reach of design in the contemporary world. The book is structured to cover the life of a designed object or project from conception and fabrication to evaluation. The essays are divided into themed sections, with each section separately introduced and each concluded with further reading.

Design elementsDesign Elements: Color Fundamentals: A Graphic Style Manual for Understanding How Color Affects Design by Aaris Sherin. Call no. NC2001.6 C5 S43

Design Elements Color Fundamentals’ focuses on color as a core element in design, taking an in depth look at using color in design applications, integrating color with type and image, affecting meaning, creating order and applying principles to effectively communicate with color. Compact yet informative text and numerous visual examples illustrate practical techniques for successfully using color in real world design projects, type and image, and how color can affect meaning in design and create order.

Interactive DesignInteractive Design: An Introduction to the Theory and Application of User-centered Design by Andy Pratt and Jason Nunes. Call no. QA76.9 U8 P72

This innovative, comprehensive book examines the user-centered design process from the perspective of a designer. With rich imagery, Interactive Design introduces the different UX players, outlines the user-centered design process from user research to user testing, and explains through various examples how user-centered design has been successfully integrated into the design process of a variety of design studios worldwide.

Fluid ScreensFluid Screens, Expanded Cinema by Janine Marchessault and Susan Lord. Call no. NH3300 F5

As a medium, film is constantly evolving both in form and in content. Fluid Screens, Expanded Cinema considers the shift from traditional cinema to new frontiers of interactive, performative, and networked media.
Using the theories of Marshall McLuhan and Gilles Deleuze as a starting point, renowned scholars from the fields of film theory, communication studies, cultural studies, and new media theory explore the ways in which digital technology is transforming contemporary visual culture. The essays consider a series of questions: What constitutes the “new” in new media? How are digital aesthetics different from film aesthetics? What new forms of spectatorship and storytelling, political community, and commodity production are being enabled through the digital media?
Using Gene Youngblood’s 1970 book Expanded Cinema as an anchor for the volume, Fluid Screens, Expanded Cinema understands the digital not simply as a technological form, but also as an experience of space and time that is tied to capitalism. This important collection is unique in framing a range of social justice issues with aesthetic theories of new digital screen culture that will appeal to scholars and multimedia artists prepared to break new ground.

Tomorrow nowTomorrow Now: When Design Meets Science Ciction, MUDAM Luxembourg, Musee d’art moderne Grand-Duc Jean by Alexandra Midal. Call no. NK1390 T65

Catalogue of the exhibition ‘Tomorrow Now : When Design Meets Science Fiction‘ held at the Museee d‘art moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg, May 25-Sept. 24, 2007.


Out of Time Designs for the Twentieth-Century Future by Norman Brosterman. Call no. NC961.7 T33 B7

“Flying cities … Martian colonies … spaceships … robots … monorails … bubble-topped cars … atomic explosions …” “These have all appeared in both artistic renderings of the future for pulp magazines and as serious architectural proposals. Design references for the future were drawn from engineering, science fiction, avant-garde architecture, pulp fiction and mechanic magazines, aerodynamics, and the 1939 New York World’s Fair. And many of these ideas have actually come to pass.” “Out of Time: Designs for the Twentieth-Century Future” is a collection of illustration art from the past century, portraying the indefatigable gee whiz of the imagined future.

Sci-Fi Aesthetics by Rachel Armstrong (Guest Editor). Call no. N8217 F28 S3

Subjects: Kathy Acker, Fernando Arias, Dr. Rachel Armstrong, David Bowie, Christopher Bucklow, Michael Buhler, Nick Broomfield, Patrice Caire, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Simon Costin, Davide de Angelis, Elizabeth Dyn, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Roberta Graham, Cindy Jackson, Tina Keane, Mariko Mori, Orlan, Predrag Pajdic, A Hans Scheirl, Andres Serrano, Stelarc, Survial Research Laboratories, Tamagotchi, Kenji Yanobe and VNS Matrix.


Where’s My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future that Never Arrived by Daniel H. Wilson. Call no. T49.5 W4

It’s the 21st century and–let’s be honest–things aren’t exactly as advertised. Despite predictions of a fully automated, atomic-powered, germ-free Utopia where robot servants cater to our whims, we are not living the future we were promised.

In Where’s My Jetpack?, roboticist Daniel H. Wilson takes a hilariously deadpan look at the future we imagined for ourselves. He exposes technologies, spotlights existing prototypes and reveals plans that crashed and burned on the drawing-board. Wilson leads readers beyond the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue to find cool gadgets in arcane places. And if the technology isn’t public, he’ll explain how to build, buy or steal it. The 30 entries, spanning topics such as teleportation, space vacations and x-ray specs, push the nostalgia button.

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