The Art of Movie Title Graphic Design

As you sit down to watch the Academy Awards this weekend, one thought that probably won’t enter your mind is, “I could go for just one more Oscar.” But I’d gladly trade in the Best Song award for Best Title Sequence. After all, I’ve gotten more enjoyment out of the opening credits for, say, “Catch Me if You Can” and the closing ones for “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” than any Randy Newman song in an animated film.

You should check out The New York Times’ nominations for Best Film Titles, which amuse me in that you get movies that otherwise would never be nominated for an Oscar such as “The A-Team.”

But I’d like to focus on a designer who’s been, perhaps, as prolific as Saul Bass in creating memorable title sequences. Pablo Ferro is so well known for his work on movies that a documentary, “Pablo,” has been made with Academy Award-winning Jeff Bridges narrating.

The following is just a sample of Ferro’s title designs for movies going back to the ’60s and into today with “Howl.” Note the changes in design from film to film and how Ferro’s font choice creates a mood for what you’re about to see. Which movie titles have influenced your graphic design?

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Howl

L.A. Confidential

Napoleon Dynamite

The Thomas Crown Affair

Darkman

Bullitt

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