What is Design X Saber?

DESIGN X SABER is a project by Y Studios, a design and research firm located in the creative hubs of San Francisco and Austin. It is a Design and Star Wars mashup of ideas inspired by our design heroes and favorite sci-fi experience. 


Design & Star Wars

This is the story of our two loves – Design and Star Wars.

As creatives, we are instinctively drawn to the scintillating world of science fiction and fantasy. It is our retreat from the real world, an indulgent to push the boundaries of our imagination, permitting us to be a kid again.

The kernel of an idea for the DESIGN X SABER project started over a brown bag lunch at work. We shared our love for sci-fi fantasy movies and of course, Star Wars was on top of everyone’s lists.

The lightsaber is the most iconic symbol in the Star Wars universe. In Obi-Wan Kenobi’s words: “To use a lightsaber well was a mark of someone a cut above the ordinary.”  

For every kid growing up with Star Wars in their eyes, to be able to wield a lightsaber was to demonstrate incredible skill and confidence. The hilt of the lightsaber was almost always self-fabricated by the wielder to match his or her specific needs, preferences and style.

Now, that, is a very seductive idea for a designer.

At the end of lunch, it became obvious to everyone that we have the perfect opportunity to creatively imagine what our own saber could be. Better yet, we challenged ourselves to envision what would a saber look like if some of our design heroes created it?

This project website is a culmination of the collaborative efforts and months of hard work by the Y Studios team. It celebrates the inspirations and imaginations behind the creation of these six sabers. 

* All sabers featured in the DESIGN X SABER project are designed by our talented team of superhero designers. Thank you everyone!

Selfie Clone | Instagram @ystudios_sf

Selfie Clone | Instagram @ystudios_sf


The Power of Heroes

Since its publication in 1949, Joseph Campbell's seminal work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, has influenced millions of readers as diverse as professors and students of history of religion, anthropology and literature, to creatives like writers, filmmakers, designers and musicians.

It effectively combined the insights of modern psychology with comparative mythology on the archetypal heroes and myths shared by world religions and traditions, while focusing on our cultural commonalities rather than our differences.

Joseph Campbell believed that people need these archetypal superhuman figures because they are "the symbols that carry the human spirit forward." Sixty-six years later, his book is still relevant and influential.

It is also a well-known fact that Campbell's book was used as a foundation for George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces book cover | Jason Gardner, New World Library

The Hero with a Thousand Faces book cover | Jason Gardner, New World Library


“In the three decades since I discovered The Hero with a Thousand Faces, it has continued to fascinate and inspire me. Joseph Campbell peers through centuries and shows us that we are all connected by a basic need to hear stories and understand ourselves. As a book, it is wonderful to read; as illumination into the human condition, it is a revelation.” 

George Lucas



Star Wars is many things to many people.

It is timeless and universal in its enduring appeal across generations, geography and gender. Legions of diehard Star Wars fans span across the world. Many would cite Star Wars as their all-time favorite sci-fi movie.

When George Lucas first crafted his story, he had credited Joseph Campbell as an important inspiration. His aim was to create a mythology that could provide moral guidance within the context of renewed sense of spirituality and transcendence. It sought to take us deep into the mystery of life and existence through an imaginative and engaging story.

Star Wars is also an amalgam of pop culture genres, epic sagas with Eastern and Western influences, human stories that have been handed down through generations and spun into a futuristic narrative.

Thirty-eight years later, Star Wars remains as a well-constructed adventure with a powerful narrative that appeals to the times. It continues to deeply resonate with fans, old and new.

Classic 1977 Star Wars Style C Poster Artwork | Tom Chantrell

Classic 1977 Star Wars Style C Poster Artwork | Tom Chantrell


“There's such a rich universe that's been created around Star Wars. It holds so many universal themes that pretty much anyone can find something in there that's memorable or valuable.”

Robert Muratore 
Producer of the documentary film "The People vs. George Lucas"


Pushing the Boundaries of Imagination

The enduring fascination with genres like science fiction, fantasy, folklore and superheroes, tap into a deep philosophical and psychological need to escape and be engrossed in an imaginary world full of possibilities that reality cannot yet fulfill.

These genres are not mutually exclusive. While science fiction explores what is possible, fantasy explores the impossible. Folktales speak to universal and timeless themes passed on through generations, linking us to our rich cultural heritage, while the idea of superhuman ability propels us to imagine a future of extraordinary prospects achievable by science and technology.

All these genres consider the opportunity for discovery, learning and change, the potent ingredients for innovative thinking. Collectively, they push the boundaries of human imagination, giving voice to our deepest longings and hopes for the future of our society and generations to come.

As creatives, we are deeply inspired by ideas that jolt us out of our comfort zone and encourage us to think beyond what is possible. These genres of imagination are dynamic fodder for creative inspiration.

Visual Imagination, Concept of small genius | Alphaspirit on Shutterstock

Visual Imagination, Concept of small genius | Alphaspirit on Shutterstock

"Science fiction is something that could happen - but usually you wouldn't want it to. Fantasy is something that couldn't happen - though often you only wish that it could. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them, into the impossible." 

Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Our Design Heroes

Hadid. Eames. Miyake. Heath. Rams.

These are well-known names and highly respected individuals in their respective creative fields – architecture, furniture, fashion, pottery and industrial design. Their profound influences on the cultural and creative landscape are infinite.

Every generation has its heroes. These are our design heroes – for their vision, passion and success. Their prolific and impressive portfolio of work inspires our own approach to design thinking at Y Studios. As diverse as they appear to be, they all share the following aesthetic qualities and design philosophies that we aspire to:

Aesthetic Qualities

  • Unique Simplicity
  • Timeless
  • Attention to Detail
  • Thoughtful
  • Relevant

Design Philosophies

  • They are non-compromising in fulfilling their creative vision.
  • They consistently push the boundaries.
  • They have a strong sense of aesthetic identity and point of view.
  • They are cultural icons that have long-lasting endurance through generations.
  • They are multidisciplinary, fascinated by different fields of design.
  • They innovate through understanding how to use technology to create new ways of doing things.

DESIGN X SABER is our homage to these inspirational exemplars. 

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