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Star Wars’ Logo Designer Discusses Its ‘Fascist’ Roots in Nazi Signage, But Really, That’s As Political As These Films Get

Last weekend, Disney CEO Bob Iger declared that Rogue One “is not a film that is, in any way, a political film.” Suzy Rice, the designer behind Star Wars’ instantaneously recognizable title logo, agrees. “At no point, however, have I ever viewed the Star Wars literary canon to be a comment on any phase or time in U.S. political history,” Rice told The Hollywood Reporter in an new interview. The Star Wars signature design, however, is just about as political as you can get. When Rice met George Lucas to discuss his upcoming franchise’s promotional materials, she tells THR, the Star Wars filmmaker asked her to come up with something “very fascist” that would “be intimidating” and could “rival AT&T.”

As she explained in a 2011 essay, a mere day before their conversation Rice had read about Hitler’s Reich Master of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels and his insistence that the Third Reich institute a standardized public-signage font. Inspired, she picked Helvetica Black for her design: “no flourishes, forceful, presenting an atmosphere in which to locate my rendering for a logo.” A minor change to the W later (you can see her original here) and the rest should have been history. Unfortunately, Rice was not initially named in the credits of A New Hope and found her role in the design’s creation downplayed among those in the industry. Fortunately, Lucasfilm has credited her with the logo, citing her as the designer in their 2005 Star War Poster Book. Rice concludes: “There were a few times over the past decades when the achievement seemed to generate terrible negativity, but those times no longer exist.”

Star Wars Logo Designer Discusses Its Nazi Roots