Title sequences are now considered a prerequisite within major film and television productions, enabling creative designers to construct interesting visuals that will enhance the production by introducing the narrative. Audiences have come to anticipate title sequences so much that films can be acknowledged through the title sequence itself. A film like Seven (1995) is more likely to be remembered for its scratchy moving typography rather than the narrative of the film. Designers use many methods of communication to construct messages to their audience; “Typography is the art and technique of creating and composing type in order to convey a message.” (Woolman, 2000). Typography is one of many components that allow a title sequences to fulfil it purpose. Typography has developed with technology and as a result kinetic typography was formed. The definition of kinetic typography has been described as “…the integration of “typography and motion” or “text that moves otherwise changes over time”.” (Browne, 2007). The growth from still to kinetic typography has allowed typography to become an additional image within a sequence. Roland Bathes (1977) theory suggests that text can be a representation of an image, this insinuates that text has the same properties as an image and can symbolise messages and semiotics. This theory can be applied to all signifiers to find meaning in objects within the title sequence.
The title sequence has been a part of film and television since the 1930’s where “Title cards were initially the only method for putting type on the screen.” (Woolman, 2000). This method consisted of black card with still typography printed and then filmed into a camera. Evidently this technique was not able to implement a huge amount of detail or creativity as today’s processes because motion design and techniques were not developed enough to become industry accepted. One of the most famous designers to influence title sequence development was Saul Bass who suggested that making objects move would form a new dimension to film as the beginning of films used to be “ignored or used for popcorn time” (Bass, 2000). This suggestion went on to have animated objects that moved such as Saul Bass’ design for Vertigo (1958) where the film title animates towards the camera and swirling objects. Although, Bass was using a innovative technique to intrigue the audience it was not the first time that kinetic typography had been used as Victor Fleming’s Civil War weepy Gone with the Wind (1939) used typography that “that gust on and off the screen, italicized as if by sheer gale force.” (Codrington, 2003).
Each section of this research piece will find out how kinetic typography has involved itself into film and television title sequences. The development in typography in title sequences section shows why typography was so effective with its development, whether designs are being reused or are different somehow and the analysis of Kyle Cooper’s Seven (1995) to see if the typography was a factor for it being one of the best ever title sequences and how it was developed. The kinetic typography, imagery and audience section will discuss whether the development of kinetic typography has an effect on the audience or is just an aesthetic improvement. Most title sequences use kinetic typography as a tool to represent the messages and themes but how effective has this been? Also, to find out whether title sequences can now rely on just kinetic typography or have to converge with other mediums.