Concept Layout for 12-Back Blister Card
The Star Wars 12-back blister card is arguably the most reknowned piece of action figure packaging ever made. Not only did it establish the blister card as the standard form of packaging for the 3.75" action figure, it was stylistically eye popping, with an innovative black background and faux chrome detailing.

What you see here is an artifact of the design process which lead to that distinctive 12-back look. Done by an outside design firm and sent back to Kenner for review, it's a simple white board that's been printed with some rather crude imagery. As you can see, it's intended to represent the card for the Darth Vader figure. In fact, that image of Vader you see on the left represents the figure, not a packaging element. It's based on an early concept model of the figure, made from a Fisher Price Adventure People figure. This design firm was probably sent photographs of these early prototypes, and they in turn used these as a bases for their work.

The card itself has no specific character image. Rather, it appears it was meant to represent a generic design, which would have been used for every character in the line. The primary image shows Luke and Leia as they appear on the Hildebrant poster, as well as on the famous one-sheet theatrical release poster, with art painted by Tom Jung, which advertised the film's appearance in theaters. As you no doubt know, this design was nixed in favor of character-specific images; each 12-back blister card carried a large photo of the character to which it referred. The Hildebrandt Luke-and-Leia logo, however, was retained; it was simply moved to up to the right side of the Star Wars logo.

It's also notable that the double-racetrack border makes an early appearance here, merging with the Star Wars logo just as it does on the production card. But whereas the production cards featured a uniform rectangular shape, this conceptual card is die-cut in an irregular way; everything outside of the border is cut off. Note, however, that the "Long Play" and Kenner logos, so familiar from the finalized 12-back design, are clearly present in the lower right corner.

Several of these blister card prototypes have recently turned up, some of which feature a block logo that appears to be receding into the distance. They're interesting to see as they provide a glimpse into the process behind the design of a beloved packaging element.

Description by: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Ron Salvatore
From the collection of: Ron Salvatore
Country:United States
Film:A New Hope
Licensee:Kenner
Year:1977
Category:Prototypes / Product Concepts


  


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