A deep dive into the visual branding of Cyberdyne Systems from the "Terminator" films

Speculative Identities is a site run by Roger Strunk that analyzes and examines the graphic design and UI details of science fictional companies. For example, the myriad corporations that comprise the worlds as seen in Blade Runner and Total Rekall, or looking into the ways that the divergent timelines from Back to the Future II impacted the logos for Pizza Hut and USA Today.

Even more recently, they've taken a branding approach to one of my favorite dystopian sci-fi corporations: Cyberdyne Industries from the Terminator films.

Strunk reverse-engineers from each and every iteration of the Cyberdyne logo as it appears across the movies in order to create the kind of standard branding standards sheet that any corporation would get from a graphic designer. These includes rules on things like fonts, color strategies, and permissible variations of the logo. And—because it's Cyberdyne—this extends beyond the instances of the logo as it appears on company badges and clothing, but also the variations that occur in divergent timelines.

It's an impressively comprehensive breakdown, approached with specificity and care of a professional graphic designer, as if they were actually hired to brand this multi-temporal company. Strunk even speculates into how this company's branding came about, both in-universe and in the real world. It's pretty fascinating stuff.

At the Cyberdyne Systems building, we see extensive application of the corporate identity, across exterior and interior signs, on employee items and uniforms, and on equipment and screens. This primarily consists of the logo, in a variety of versions that have been detailed in the overview section of this entry. The "Usage" sections that follow capture examples of each way it was used in the film.


The Cyberdyne Systems visual identity, as it first appeared in the film T2: Judgement Day, is composed of two elements — a mark and wordmark — that appear in a variety of versions and lockups, and independently as standalone identifiers.

The mark (Figure 10.1) can be described overall as an upward pointing triangle divided into three separate parts, each of which is an irregularly shaped diamond, arrayed around a central point. The primary, 2-color version of the mark is black and light gray, with the lower right diamond being highlighted in most versions of the mark. It is not apparent what the mark or the highlight signifies. Given the company's name, there is no reason to read the overall triangle shape as an "A". It can be classified as an abstract or non-figurative mark. But that doesn't mean it is just arbitrary shapes — looking for possible inspiration, by examining the trends and companies mentioned in the previous section, could point to it being a reference or homage to real-world marks and what they represent.

Speculative Identities: Cyberdyne Systems

Image via Gisela Giardino/Flickr