It always astonishes me when I watch a film and absolutely no attention has been paid to the opening title sequence. In that token I am equally pleased by sequences that artfully introduce the movie title and cast in creative ways. The Directors Guild of America stipulates that as a member you must provide opening credits for a certain portion of the cast and crew for your movies. Some directors have side-stepped the whole process and gone straight to the movie, leaving the credits until the end, thus ending their membership in this essentially powerless organization. While this isn't necessarily a poetic solution to the problem, it is certainly an effective one. Most directors choose to meet this challenge head on, and create opening title sequences that set the tone for the movie, some more successful than others. A few of my favorite movie titling in recent years include: Catch Me if You Can Fight Club The Royal Tenanbaums Panic Room Napoleon Dynamite But we must give credit where credit is due. Modern move intro titling wouldn't be half as interesting today if not for the pioneering efforts of one man: Saul Bass. I know his praises are sung all too often, but watching these newer movies one can't help but find the occasional similarity between the titling of today and the groundbreaking work of the past (see the Panic Room intro then watch Saul Bass' intro to North by Northwest). A personal favorite, if I may make a suggestion, is Bunny Lake is Missing. The link I have included does not have the sequences as video, but if you click on the images they'll advance in order so you can see how they originally appeared.
Few sites have kept me coming back day after day to explore and be inspired as the nifty little site called bearskinrug. Starting out in 2000 as the personal portfolio site of Kevin Cornell it has evolved into an illustraion-blog-portfolio-store-archive-link dump-almagamation that, despite it's many functions and seemingly bottomless content, manages to not be overwhelming or confusing in any way. I can't remember how I first came across it, but I have been going back to check in and get inspired, ever since. Three reasons you have to explore this site: 1. His illustrations are obviously beautiful and the comics are wry and hilarious, but it's Cornell's sense of typography ( a subtle combination of hand-drawn techniques with traditional and ornate typefaces) that makes the type freak in me squeal with envy. 2. The Bear. An element that existed in an earlier version of his site the bear now resides in the work section of bearskinrug in the top right corner. It is a guaranteed way to lose at least 15 minutes of your life. 3. After you have exhausted his extensive portfolio and gone back through all of the archived iterations of his site, what have you left to come back for? His links. Kevin seems to have a knack of finding bizarrely intriguing and genuinely unique paraphernalia on-line that keeps bearkinrug on my bookmarks bar at home and at work.
When a good friend recommended The Tipping Point to me recently, I politely listened to their analysis of the book and why I'd like it. Nodding in agreement and asking questions in the proper places, I feigned interest until finally I promised to pick it up, but of course, never actually intending to do so. Stranded in the Laguarida Airport last weekend I spotted the discrete book on a shelf with other more obvious and flamboyant covers declaring their book's novelty and brilliance. There was the book I'd promised to read. Waiting quietly. Asking me for nothing. So I bought it. I don't know for what specific purpose writer Malcolm Gladwell wrote this in-depth examination of epidemics, and apparently neither did he at the time (or so he claims in the afterward), but I must say that I'm sure that 90% of his readers can't make the personal connection to the information that we as designers can. Almost a "how-to" for successful marketing campaigns, he breaks down the three causes for epidemics (both literal and figurative) in a way that seems almost too approachable. The most exciting aspect of this treatise on how things go from fringe to mainstream is it's relevance to the everyday world. Ever wonder why old-school neon high-top Nike's are back in style or why so many kids are smoking? This book has a few ideas.
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