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Innovation & Design

No Dark Side to George Lucas

"THX 1138", "American Graffiti," "Star Wars," the Indiana Jones series, and "Tucker: The Man and His Dream" are just some of the movies that filmmaker George Lucas has brought to a theater near you via his privately-held studio, Lucasfilm Ltd., which he founded in 1971. Lucas later also founded the special effects companies Skywalker Sound (initially christened Sprocket Systems, in a momentary lapse of reason) and Industrial Light and Magic. In 1977, Lucasfilm released "Star Wars," which is now the second-highest grossing movie of all time ("Titanic" is the highest), grabbing six Oscars in 1978. The movie marked the start of Lucasfilm and its loyal following on a journey of six feature "Star Wars" films over 28 years.

Lucasfilm - online empire A visit to the studio's website opens on an entertaining splash page. Turn up your speakers and circle your pointer over the characters; this neatly captures Lucasfilm's production aesthetic.

In line with many a corporate site, is an online brochure providing information on its products, management, announcements, subsidiaries and career opportunities. The difference here is in the quality of the execution, which one would expect from a cutting-edge film production studio. However, the site is neither a cyber entertainment park nor a virtual studio.

Each movie is represented by an index card, with a synopsis, a list of select cast members, and other information. The site also offers price comparisons of Lucas' movies released on DVD from a range of distributors including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Wal-Mart.

Particular attention was given to the graphic design, and fans will be delighted with the quality of many of the pictures displayed on the site.

Hasty typists who enter will go to the dark side and be redirected to, which is completely different in look and feel. The two sites are night and day. looks like it was designed by an isolated teenage enthusiast with a lot of time on his hands and too little sunshine.

Lucasfilm, on the other hand, is light in both senses of the word. Not much information, lots of white space. The site is little more than a cyber presence with a relatively limited number of pages and information. However, if it is not a showcase of the technical prowess of the studios, the brand nonetheless is supported and reinforced by the abundant presence of well-designed still and semi-animated graphics.

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