Entertainment Design Wednesday: Fall in Love with Old Hollywood Film Titles

We’ve expressed our appreciation for title sequence design before (those flashy opening credits you see prior to a feature film), and it’s clear we’re not the only ones.

Christian Annyas, a Dutch Web/graphic designer, has devoted his time to cataloging the title designs from old Hollywood films on his site, the Movie Title Stills Collection.

Steve Heller described the site as “a sublimely obsessive online resource for buffs, geeks and fans,” in The New York Times’ style publication, T Magazine.

Heller provides a great overview of the history of title design in the full article, Graphic Content | Film at First Sight, at this link.

Annyas has captured a great variety of title sequences, from old Hollywood classics to modern-day films that  demonstrate the evolution of typography and design choices that have shaped this unique medium.

Movie title designs from 1950-1954

Warner Bros. Dial M for Murder, title sequence typography

Annyas also provides some nice commentary on his discovers about trailer graphics vs. main title sequence graphics at this link,  for example, the variance of title sequence typography compared to the film’s trailer typography. Below, compare the main titles (left) with trailer titles (right) of various films:

Warner Bros. main title sequences

Annyas also notes an interesting observation– the gradual size reduction of on-screen typography from the bolder, larger style of the 1930s, to a modern, subtle type treatment seen on today’s big screens. Ironically, the latter are less legible on a smartphone screen compared to their predecessors. Compare the Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) title with The Dark Knight title (2008), below:

Warner Bros title designs: Gold Diggers of 1933 vs The Dark Knight

Check out more examples below, and add the Movie Title Stills Collection to your bookmarks list for future title sequence and typography inspiration. For more inspiring articles dedicated to entertainment design, click here.
Warner Bros. Public Enemy typography title sequenceWarner Bros. Trailer Typography

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Author: Mani O'Brien

Mani O’Brien is the Online Editor for the FIDMDigitalArts Blog and the Social Media Marketing Manager for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles.

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