We need to talk about a criminally underrated art genre, the art of television and movie title design. People don’t give enough credit to this humble medium, one that in mere seconds can perfectly set the tone of the show you’re about to binge for weeks.
Here are 5 of my favorite title sequences for your viewing pleasure. For more history, check out this high-level stroll through the evolution of movie title design.
5 North by Northwest (1959): Saul Bass blew the doors off title sequence design in the 1950’s. His work on Hitchcock films like Psycho, Vertigo, and North by Northwest is some of the most iconic contemporary graphic art. The titles in North by Northwest create a visual grid that becomes a skyscraper in the city center. This foreshadows the motifs of mistaken identity and fear of heights that plague Cary Grant’s character throughout the film.
4 The title sequence for Netflix’s Jessica Jones is intriguing, just a little sexy, and dark. Zooming in on her eye at the end, we get a sense that Jones is watching everything, albeit through a blurred lens.
3 yU + co’s main-on-end title sequence for Crazy Rich Asians is visually stunning, featuring dizzying patterns of bling and other elements from the movie. Mahjong tiles, designer sunglasses, and diamonds kaleidoscope in and out of view, for an ending that feels appropriately like a party.
2 Spider-Man Homecoming (2017): Perception used a bunch of different art styles to create an eclectic, energetic sequence. It’s as if Spiderman drew the credits himself, which is great characterization.
1 Catch Me If You Can (2002): Mid-century style adds a noir feel to an otherwise light comedy in this throwback to Saul Bass’s iconic Hitchcock titles. The animation takes its sweet time to set the mood, and the movie is better for it.