An alternate take on the Star Wars Black 6″ packaging

As I’ve argued elsewhere, the “Black” name should not be shared with the 3¾” line, because it’s needlessly confusing to fans of both scales.

However, I’m not a big fan of the packaging, either. I don’t mind the box format as opposed to the more traditional card – it seems like it will be re-usable and a good way to store the figures when not on display. I also like that the packaging highlights all the accessories; hopefully those extra accessories are a feature Hasbro sticks to on this line. The text on the back of the box that describes each character is a bit glib, but hardly a deal-breaker.

Yet, while there are some good ideas here, the whole effect doesn’t quite work. The light gray SWB logo and graphics are hardly eye-popping on the shelf, which seems like a waste since you already have the black to make a nice contrast with.

What’s really odd is the choice of orange as the secondary color. The “stripes” of orange on the inside of the package are presumably intended to evoke the lights of the Carbon Freezing Chamber in The Empire Strikes Back, but those lights are arguably as much red as orange. The shape of the lights on the packaging more closely resemble those of the Emperor’s Throne Room, which were white.

In the Nemo Eight’s SDCC interview with Hasbro’s Star Wars team, the designers said one of the inspirations for the “black” theme was the text at the beginning of each movie, which scrolls over the blackness of space. Great idea, but why not use that memorable bright yellow of the text as the secondary color, then? I find seeing “Star Wars” in stencilled yellow conjures up the power and immediacy of the beginning of the films, the words appearing at the same moment the soundtrack blasts its opening notes.

I decided to try my hand at a mock-up via Photoshop. I used the yellow of the scrolls for the logo (and renamed the line “Star Wars Legends”). I added an actual photo of Luke rather than that faded gray image, which I thought was a nice nod to the photos on the vintage packaging, and I changed the lights from orange to the white of the Emperor’s Throne Room. I think this look is more noticeable on the shelf, and more evocative of the movies.



Pic of the Day > Eleven by Fordigan


Poe’s 2013 Halloween Mood Table!


  1. Great points, and a greatly improved design with your mock-up.

    I concur with it all!

  2. tim

    not to sound like a dick.. but this is why you're not working for hasbro.

    their design looks more classy and more valuable than yours.

  3. I thought that "Black" was because it made the product sound classy and high-end.

  4. nerdbot

    Your design is definitely an improvement; Much more eye-catching, and more recognizably references the films. I almost admire Hasbro for releasing a package design that is so understated… but they drifted too far into minimal territory and wound up rather boring.

    And yes – the "Legends" name would have been so appropriate for the 6" line! How could they have missed that?

    Star Wars isn't the only line where Hasbro has some confusing lack of distinction between lines, either. They also have the Marvel lines where "Avengers Assemble" is the dominant branding: one is the ~$6, 5 POA line; and the other is the ~$10, more articulated line. I guess one is also branded "S.H.I.E.L.D. Gear," or something like that, but still…

    • I noticed that too with the Avengers line. Maybe there is a marketing dept. push to obfuscate what you're getting for your money this year, so that in the future customers get used to the $10-15 price point for super articulated 4" figures, and $25-30+ price for 6" figures. At a later date they can charge these same prices if not more for 5POA figures in both scales and the customer is none the wiser. The price increase on the little guys in 2008 was incredibly poorly received worldwide (My local Toys R Us in Spain still has a lot of unsold 08 Hasbro figures on the shelves) and Hasbro has been complaining to fans for a few years as to how expensive the 4" line is to produce- I could see this especially after the disastrous past two years with the 4" stuff.

  5. I'm going to have to call BS on the designer's reasoning for the line's look. It's been very clear through their marketing, and their response to that question, that they want to make the customer feel as though they're buying a premium, high-end product. For much of the 2000s the vintage Kenner-style was used for premium packaging so when they made that the "standard" in 2010, they had to do something else to make this 2013 overhaul seem like something new. And a huge thing in marketing has been this idea as Black cards, Black service, even at airports the "Black lounge" for uber-class passengers… It's not that big of a deal but I really don't like it when marketing decisions are referred to as creative decisions when it's just not the case. I mean even the decision to box the figures is standard Hasbro "High End Collectible" marketing to make the customers feel like they're getting a great, high-end item for their $25.

    The confusion continues between the 3.75" and 6" lines, with some SW sites stating they are using "Star Wars Black" to refer to the 3.75" line, and others using it to refer to the 6" line exclusively. I really hope they change the name of the 3.75 inch line next year, because it's getting tough to figure out what's what when trying to buy online.

    I much prefer your packaging Poe- and I still don't understand why they didn't go with the "Legends" name, which Hasbro owns! I also like the Medicom boxes for their RAH Star Wars releases and your design reminds me of them.

  6. Misterbigbo

    I like your mock up look. As for the design of the packaging, Hasbro really hit the nail on the head, and Mattel could seriously learn a thing or two about what collectors want and need in packaging: small rectangular boxes that stack neatly.

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