The Rebel Alliance stood against the Galactic Empire in the original trilogy and after years of fighting, the Rebellion eventually signed a concordance with the Empire. Their symbol, a starbird, is most often spotted on pilots’ helmets and can also be seen on uniforms on the Resistance base in The Force Awakens. The design may have roots in the phoenix/starbird graffiti Sabine Wren leaves behind in Star Wars Rebels.
When Sheev Palpatine formed the Galactic Empire, he adopted a different version of the Galactic Republic’s crest. The new cog with six spokes was used throughout the organization. It’s visible on uniforms, flags, and even propaganda posters. The symbol is associated with the might of the Empire, and its presence on a world signifies Imperial control. In other words, the Empire knew how to brand itself.
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