Margo Chase, who designed for Madonna and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ killed in plane crash

Margo Chase, an influential graphic designer known for creating logos for TV shows including “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and album typeface designs for musicians such as Prince and Madonna, died Saturday in a plane crash outside the high desert community of Apple Valley, Calif. She was 59.

An accomplished pilot, Chase was practicing an acrobatic flying maneuver when her plane crashed. She was killed instantly. The cause of the accident is unknown.

The FAA and the San Bernardino County sheriff’s aviation division are investigating the cause of the crash, according to the Associated Press.


Chase founded Chase Design Group in 1986 and grew the L.A.-based business into a respected global design firm for brands, including Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Nestlé.

“Everyone in the Chase Design Group family has been touched and inspired by Margo’s creativity, generous spirit and love for design,” President Chris Lowery said in a statement. “We will all miss her brilliance and incredible energy, but will carry her vision for the organization forward as she would have wanted.”

Chase was raised in Santa Barbara. She enrolled at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and fell in love with graphic design. She went on to study medical illustration at the University of San Francisco before pursuing commercial design work.

Chase was revered in design circles for her gothic-inspired style. Some of her most notable work was featured on Madonna’s album “Like a Prayer” and the title sequence for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

She earned numerous industry accolades, including an AIGA fellow award from the Professional Assn. for Design. After news of her death, admirers and colleagues took to social media to share how she had inspired their work and impacted their lives.

Chase taught design classes and spoke at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Cal Arts in Valencia and other design schools.

“She was beloved in the design community at large and will be missed,” Art Center College of Design wrote in a Facebook post. “Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this difficult time.”

In an interview last year with How Design magazine, Chase described how she fought to create high-quality designs for mass market brands.

“I love design, and I love that we can see the results of our work make a difference every day,” she said.

Chase was an avid acrobatic pilot and an active member of the International Acrobatic Club.

“Margo was one of the most skilled, talented, and dedicated people I have ever met in my life,” said Mike Heuer, president of the IAC in statement.

The family asks that in lieu of sending flowers, donations be made to the International Aerobatic Club, Wildlife Waystation, NPR or KPCC.

Chase is survived by her husband, Patrick Dugan; her parents, Nancy and Stillman Chase; and her siblings Jennifer Chase Pokorny and Brian and Jeff Chase.