Art of the Title

Art of the Title

HQ

The definitive industry publication for title sequence design in film, TV, and beyond.

Stories

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

“They say if you want to tell a story right, you gotta start at the beginning,” chirps the titular heroine in the opening moments of Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.  Director Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey is a jittery, glittery joyride through loss, independence, sisterhood and gory vengeance. Graphics burst forward at every opportunity, bright and multicoloured, neon and shining. Like its central figure, they cannot be contained. To create the end sequence, design studio Shine took inspiration from…

The beaks inherit the earth: Learn about the eerie opening to Hitchcock's 'The Birds' (1963)

“If you have ever eaten a turkey drumstick, caged a canary or gone duck hunting, The Birds will give you something to think about,” drawled the voice of Alfred Hitchcock. It was 1962 and this was a radio advertisement for the film, a clever spot designed to intrigue and titillate audiences while implicating them in the director’s latest horrific tale.  Based on the story of the same name by Daphne Du Maurier, The Birds is a taut picture with moments of delightful comedy and…

Out by 16 or dead on the scene: Dive into the sick suburbs with 'Ginger Snaps'

“Too much blood. And I can see your gaunch!” says Brigitte, annoyed. Ginger, her body impaled on a white picket fence, sticky red blood sprayed across her middle, gives us the finger. “Just do it,” she says. Brigitte brings a 35mm camera to her eye and snaps the photo. An entire world in microcosm. When Ginger Snaps, the cult horror-comedy directed by John Fawcett and written by Karen Walton, was released in 2000, it was an outlier among outliers. In a genre…

David Fincher: A Film Title Retrospective

Perhaps no other living director has done as much for the art of the title sequence as David Fincher. The filmmaker’s work inarguably helped kickstart the title design renaissance of the 1990s, a revival that the medium still enjoys to this day. From the slumberous doom of Alien³ and the meticulous grotesquery of Se7en to the dreadful reminiscence of The Game, the electrical inner workings of Fight Club, and the majestic imposition of Panic Room, the director’s title sequences are as distinct from one another as they are…

Director David Fincher: 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid has an amazing title sequence'

“Most of what follows is true.” At times, a title sequence outshines the film that follows, at others, it’s a missed opportunity. The opening to George Roy Hill's 1969 revisionist western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, however, wears its seams face-out, calling attention to itself while maintaining an intimate hold on the larger themes at play. As the sepia-toned newsreel acts out the story of the real-life bank robbers on which the film is based, we already feel the nostalgic…

In pale roses, pastry and foie gras, the opening to 'American Psycho' is dressed to kill

In the opening moments of American Psycho (2000), Director Mary Harron presents a perfect amuse-bouche for the satirical horror to come. The controversial adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel of the same name opens with bloody drops falling in elegant slow motion in a stark white vacuum. An uncomfortable hum lingers while they fall, each red drop punctuated by a sharp trill of violins. The tone is elegant and sleek, the pacing slow and ominous. When Harron’s credit appears, the music quickens, the…