The History Of Title Design

There are aspects of the film production process that can be seen to be almost invisible to viewing public. Certain areas are taken for granted and not accorded the respect and admiration they are due. One aspect that falls into this category is the humble title design. For most it just informs us of the information we need to know in order to start enjoying (depending on the film of course) the feature presentation. What is not widely noted is that the designs go through a detailed development process.

A lot of creative work goes on in deciding just how the titles will look. Some directors such as Woody Allen has used the same design for all of his work to date. Simple white text on a black background playing over the title music. It gives an immediate sense of familiarity which the director can play and with and subvert. In a sense you given an indication what to expect even if it is incorrect. Other film makers tailor the title design to suit the overall aesthetic of the film. Here it becomes an integral part of the film and is in effect a statement of intent even before you see the first image.

In a short video on the history of title design from Ian Albinson we get a good insight into the level of innovation in title design over the last Century in cinema.

A Brief History of Title Design from Ian Albinson on Vimeo.

John McArthur

Editor-in-Chief at Moviescramble. A Fan of all things cinematic with a love of Film Noir, Sci-Fi and Julia Roberts in Notting Hill. He hopes to grow up some day.

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