09 November 2013

Suave, Stylish and Jazzy 1950s and '60s Inspired Title and End Credits Sequences

We all know how a James Bond title sequence looks like, right? Suave and sexy in its graphic simplicity - perfectly suited for the man himself and the era he was born into. Thanks to Maurice Binder for this idea for the very first James Bond film, "Dr. No" (1962), this tradition continued. And it wasn't only in films but also in the dawning days of television that this art of the title was adopted - and with great success. Iconic genres got a contemporary update, too, by making use of it - like Iginio Lardani's title design for Sergio Leone's "Dollars" trilogy. Or in a comic way like DFF Films' magnificently composed and witty sequences to "The Pink Panther" film series. And not to forget: Saul Bass' iconic contributions to films such as "The Man with the Golden Arm" (1955), "Ocean's 11" (1960), "Anatomy of a Murder" (1959), "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1963) and of course a bunch of classic Hitchcock films. It's not hard to see where the hit series "Mad Men" (2007- ) got their inspiration from in their own opening sequence.

Lately, films seem to have gone back in time to find aesthetic inspiration to suit their respective period dramas, whether it's the silent films of the 1920's ("The Artist", 2011) or the 1950s and '60s suspense films and sex comedies like some of the below listed movies.
I'm especially pleased to see Pixar Animation Studios making great use of these creative intros for their movies - so that children as well as adults can witness just how good some of the best animators that we have are and shoot down the argument that no one can draw or dare to be original anymore!

"Catch Me if You Can" (2002) Title Sequence:

"Down with Love" (2003) Title Sequence (follow link to video):

"Monsters, Inc." (2001) Title Sequence:

"Populaire" (2012) Title Sequence (unfortunately, no current video link exists):

"OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies" (2006) Title Sequence (follow link to video)

"The Incredibles" (2004) End Credits Sequence:

"Ratatouille" (2007) End Credits Sequence:

Furthermore, people seem to be inspired everywhere by the suaveness of these title designers and even graphic design students today use it in their final projects. Take a look at these:
Here, a fan-made title sequence for "X-Men: First Class" (2011):

And here, a fan-made intro to "Ocean's Eleven" (2001):

And this one, a Saul Bass-inspired opening version for "Pulp Fiction" (1994):

Another Saul Bass-inspired intro for HBO's successful series "Game of Thrones" (2011-present):

PS. If you're further interested in the art of title sequences and end credits, take a look at this little yet very insightful video :)

04 November 2013

The aesthetic and existential crisis of picking the right blog design for your blog

For those few who have noticed, I've changed my blog design a couple of times since this summer, and I apologize for any confusion and inconvenience it may have caused (although I doubt it, since you probably haven't even noticed or just thought you had gone wrong and quickly went away again). Well, that's my misfortune. I can clearly see it on the number of viewers, after all [= drastic decline]. I could say that I blame it all on Tumblr and its influence on me with its many flexible possibilities to change your design and interface without much thought for the consequences. It may sound arrogant but I've never struggled getting followers on Tumblr - even though I've had this blog for a much longer time - and I guess that's why I've stuck to my first design on that platform. I must admit my fingers have once in a while itched to change to some of the various tasty designs Tumblr has to offer, but people just steadily keep on coming and in the end, I'm rather pleased with how it looks.
Anyway, it's apparently another thing with Blogger. I've changed it very few times since I first started, never radically and only adding new stuff to it. Then, this summer, I wanted something new to happen with it (a frightful habit at times), and I changed it's whole aappearance.!

I wanted something with a 1950s/'60s look. Something edgy, sharp and sexy like a Mad Men episode or a Henry Mancini lounge score. Like a Saul Bass poster or one of those magnificent opening sequences from the late '50s and early '60s movies.
It ended with a brilliant picture of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon from "Some Like It Hot" as background, some '60s-looking font for the title and an edgy yellow and grey coloring... Well. It wasn't because I didn't like it, it was just that even this seemed like I was trying too hard ... there was too much going on and it wasn't me. It wasn't what I wanted my blog to represent.
So, back to the drawing table.
Well, now it  has ended like every other college girl's iconic dreamscape with a screencap from the one and only "Breakfast at Tiffany's" - with text on  a white background. Believe me, I could have been more creative and original with Photoshop, but I wanted to keep it simple, still.
Though, the proces was far from simple, I soon realised:
First, I sat down trying to make it all come together as one delicious, super-tastic blog, looking at all the nice, über-cool  templates and webdesigns out there, finding several I liked until I saw that with nice came a price (of course!)..and I was like:

After the umptieth time of my own insufficient and indecisive design combinations I was getting a teeny-weeny bit tired of my own inability to stick to something...just something..!!:

The various 'final' results were always a relief (after practically spending whole nights trying out different photos, colors and fonts) but in the end also a bit.. meh:

And now with this hopefully(!) final design I feel - well, let's just say - rather self-conscious and nervous about what it will say about me. I know, I know, the posts themselves should do the job, but as a - so far - self-proclaimed aesthete I firmly believe the visual elements says just as much about you as the text you write on the blog. So this is why, I guess, I'm writing all this: On the one hand, I'm trying to excuse myself out of it all in case it's no success (which you never should and anyway, who cares if it's a success or not!? Tsk!), and on the other hand, I'm constantly trying to fit some not-so-mind-blowing-nor-world-changing personal social medium to my identity... Then again, aren't we all?

Yeah, you own it, girl! Just take it or leave it! (Or in my case, leave it open for change..)