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Strange But True: Goebbels Helped Design The Star Wars Logo

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Stumbling around looking for a reference to the specific font used by George Lucas for the "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" screen in the Star Wars films did not lead to any joy, but it did lead to me finding this fascinating post by Suzy Rice, who designed the original Star Wars logo.

It’s a bizarre story. According to Rice, she asked Lucas what he wanted and he gave her the vague instruction to use "something very fascist" for the film’s logo. At the time, Rice had been reading about German type design, and decided to use the most fascist font she could think of: good old Helvetica! In particular, Helvetica Black, a descendent of an early typeface put into use by Joseph Goebbels as propaganda minister for the Nazi. She modified the kerning of the letters, did them up in gold, wrapped them in a bounding box, and there you have it: the Star Wars logo.

How utterly fascinating. What’s strange to me about the story is that I’ve never really thought of the Star Wars logo as being particularly fascist looking, and I’m curious why Lucas wanted it to be that way. It’s almost as if he wanted the logo to be in the official font of the Empire… yet the films aren’t from the perspective of the Empire, but rather the Rebel Alliance. More over, if he wanted a fascist-looking logo, he simply failed.

What do you think? Is the Star Wars logo fascist looking? Am I so blinded by overexposure that I simply can’t think of it in the context of Hitler and Goebbels, or is the effect really just subtle to the point of complete mootness? Let us know in the comments.

The Star Wars Logo [Suzy Rice’s Official Site]

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