The wait is nearly over. Star Wars – The Force Awakens (Episode VII) is released in the UK at midnight on Wednesday. If you’re a non-Star Wars fan then you’re forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about when for non-fans it is after all ‘just a film’… Here at Teapot, we’ve been glued to announcements, trailer releases and other teasers for the last 18 months or so. We are ‘quite’ excited…
One thing that fans and non-fans can agree on is that the films’ title logo is iconic. Designed for the first film – Star Wars – A New Hope (Episode IV) back in the late 1970s, it has not just aged gracefully, but splendidly. It is very much still in use now in 2015 as the new film prepares to captivate existing fans and create a whole new generation of Jedi nuts.
As the first film begins (Episode IV – Star Wars – A New Hope), the two words ‘STAR WARS’ are the first thing that appears on screen as the famous music by John Williams erupts. At first the words completely dominate the screen before rapidly receding into a star lit black void. Space of course. The journey to a galaxy far far away begins here.
From a design point of view this custom made logo created from a Helvetica style font with a strong futuristic edge to it, is instantly identifiable as belonging to the Star Wars films. A subtle link is made between the Facist origins of the Helvetica font in the 1930s and the films tale of cruel totalitarian control across the galaxy, lead of course by The Emperor and his able assistant, one Darth Vader.
The clear gold outlines of each letter with the deep black background representing infinite space dotted with tiny stars are a winning combination in my book. The way the first and last letters have an extended section joining the S to T of Star and R to S of Wars are the touch that finish an epic look for what are unquestionably epic films.
A quick test to tell whether the typeface used for a film title has entered the hallowed halls of legendary graphic design is to convert it into other similar length words using the exact same typograpic style. Classic films including the Godfather trilogy, the Indiana Jones series and the Back to the Future trilogy all work because their typographic style is as famous as the films. Similarly, away from film for a moment, all successful brand logos have achieved this kind of instant recognition. Think Coca Cola. Heinz. Google. Famous brands with famous logos.
So, back to a galaxy far far away. When you next see the Star Wars logo be sure to give a little nod to the graphic designer Suzy Rice for coming up with it in the first place. The force is strong with this one.