Film School: Title Sequences

Saul Bass | Anatomy of a Murder (1959) Saul Bass | Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

A collection of Movie and TV show title sequences featuring Animation and Motion Design.

Saul Bass

The innovator of the title sequence used a playful approach to type and motion to establish the mood, and suggest the themes, of the film.

Bass’ influence can be seen in the title sequences of films released over more than half a century since – some, such as Steven Spielberg‘s Catch Me If You Can (2003) even paying direct homage:

Title sequence from The Running Man (1963), designed by Maurice Binder:

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) designed by Igina Lardani:

The Handmade Aesthetic

The title sequence for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010), created by: Shynola

The end titles in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2016), designed by Perception, combine hand-painted elements with limited animation and motion design techniques:

Lettering

Kinetic-yet-static typography can be used to striking effect, as in the titles for Enter the Void (2009), designed by Tom Kan (warning: contains flashing / strobe effects):

Not exactly title, but certainly type design created by MK12 in Stranger Than Fiction (2007) is discussed in our look at motion tracking and text:

TV Series Titles

Over the last few years, lavishly-designed title sequences have become more common in TV series – including photo- and vector diagram-based motion design:

The Last Kingdom‘s titles retain the aesthetic of a moving storyboard, or animatic:

I’m A Virgo (2023) features inventive, and mostly practical, in-world titles, uniquely designed for each episode:

Stylised Live Action

Some examples which incorporate live action footage into a 2D / motion design aesthetic:

Check out the extensive archive of title sequences at Art of the Title.

Further Viewing

Title designer Dan Perri explains how he designed movie titles for films such as Star Wars (1977), The Exorcist (1973), and Raging Bull (1980) (via The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences):

Try It Yourself

Handmade effects are always more unique and personal – but sometimes, quick tricks are handy, or can be act as the foundation for more customized motion design. Here are two short tutorials from SonduckFilm with a bunch of techniques (specific to After Effects):

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