Aesthetics Wiki

Neon Noir is an aesthetic that first emerged out of the Neo-Noir film genre during the 1980s. It creates a dreamlike atmosphere with stylized visuals with a vibrant saturation, neon text, and an overall feeling of existencial isolation. Neon Noir is heavily associated with Synthwave, with most Neon Noir media incorporating it to emphasize the loneliness.


Neon Noir combines the dark and mysterious elements of Noir films with a vibrant and futuristic aesthetic akin to neon lights. It has a strong focus on dark scenery that is contrasted by the the vivid and surreal glow of neon sights in the nightlife of cities. Characters are often depicted as only dark silhuettes against a neon-lit backdrop with fog or smoke creating a dreamlike atmosphere. The scenes are sometimes accompanied by rain, which reflects the neon lights and intensifies the contrast between the wet, reflective surfaces and the darkness of the night.[1]



Why Neon Noir is Important

Despite its loud and bright presentation, Neon Noir in media retains the classic elements of the Neo-Noir film genre of violence and characters with moral ambiguity.


  • Blade Runner (1982)
  • Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
  • Blue Velvet (1986)
  • Good Time (2017)
  • Taxi Driver (1976)
  • Thief (1981)
  • Fallen Angels (1995)

Video Games[]

If any medium can compete with movies and TV in terms of taking on the Neon Noir aesthetic, it's video games. While most Neon Noir video games look like games that could've been played on an original Nintendo, there are some that have very polished next-gen graphics. Examples of Neon Noir video games include Hotline Miami, Hotline Miami 2, Detroit Become Human, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Saturday Morning RPG, Trials of the Blood Dragon, Neon Drive, Power Drive 2000, Furi, Katana ZERO, BONEWORKS/BONELAB, 2064: Read Only Memories, and Double Dragon Neon.



External links to help get a better understanding of this aesthetic.