Thursday, February 25, 2016

Typography in movie

Movies have been around for a long time. Ever since the invention of moving pictures, they have become a world wide sensation and an important part of pop culture. As motion pictures began to evolve, Typography soon became an important part of its visual element. One example we see are in movie posters, which are made to grab people’s attention and quickly show the main visual of the movie, the title, and etc through images and type.

These are movie posters that combine typography and imagery together as visual elements to show the essence of the movies.

Another aspect where Typography is important is in title sequences. Even though we take the title sequence for granted, it came a long way to become what we see now. In the early days of movies, the sequence was just one frame that showed the list of information about a movie. It was mainly type driven and wasn't really integrated with the movie itself, which made the movie and the title sequence seem like two different elements.

Outlaws of Boulder Pass (1942)


D.W.Griffith: Intolerance (1916)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920)

However, title sequences started to change during the 1950s. It was at this time when they became interactive to movies as a whole and not just one frame showing a list of information. Instead, it was done by timing typography and metaphorical imagery to set the mood for movies. This method of titling was done by designers who were outside of the Hollywood movie studio system and it was an era when design perspective took an important role in movie titling. This innovative way of titling gave viewers a sneak peak about the movie they were about to watch, before the movie started. The sequence could show what genre, era, and tone for a movie. 

Saul Bass, Pablo Ferror, Maurice Binder, and Richard Williams are the pioneers of movie title sequences we see today.

Saul Bass

Pablo Ferror

Maurice Binder

Richard Williams

Some additional interesting Title Sequences

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Se7en (1995)

Napoleon Dynamite (2004) 

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Almost Famous (2000) - took inspiration from To Kill a Mockingbird seen above

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

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