Star Wars letterheadStar Wars letterhead, with lettering by Joe Johnston.

Star Wars logo Suzy RiceMylar poster with Suzy Rice’s logo, 1977.

“I’d been reading a book the night before the meeting with George Lucas, a book about German type design and the historical origins of some of the popular typefaces used today — how they developed into what we see and use in the present.”
— Suzy Rice

Star Wars trilogy logosThe New York Times, March 24, 1985.

Full archive: Anatomy of a logo: Star Wars.

Via Kottke.


What surprised me the most when I read the Tenth Letter of the Alphabet article is how all iterations of the logo were used seemingly randomly, as if they were all interchangeable. In some cases two different variations would be used on the same piece (The Del Rey dust jacket for instance). Obviously Lucasfilm / 20th Century Fox didn’t have a set style-guide for the first film, but what’s perhaps more surprising is that I’ve never consciously noticed this before now despite being exposed to it since the age of three. Now, I can’t unsee it! I’ve gone back and looked at some of the packaging for items I once had in my collection and it’s all over the board. I also don’t think I’ve ever consciously acknowledged the variations in the revisions of the Rice Design, not all of them are so subtle after all. Until now, I’ve just seen “The Star Wars Logo” when in fact it’s been the Star Wars logo(s). The Johnston revision (the best in my opinion) has always mentally superimposed itself over whatever Rice revision was physically present. I wonder if anyone else who grew up Star Wars has had the same realization after reading the article . . . or if I’m just weird. It’s very odd because noticing these types of subtle differences is something I pride myself on being in this profession. Considering this logo has been ever-present in my life, seemingly at every stage, I wonder if my constant exposure / overexposure caused my subconscious to register the shape and “fill in the blank” without ever really processing what I was actually seeing. The Rice design is one of the first logos I was drawn to, it’s at least partially responsible for me seeking this profession . . . but which version? It’s like I just had a veil lifted and am forced to rethink everything . . . well, maybe not everything, but it’s definitely made my head spin! ;)

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