March 23, 2017

Watch: How Title Slides Have Evolved Over the Last 100 Years

This supercut showcases 100 years of title slides, from "Birth of a Nation" to "Birdman."

Opening titles are responsible for so much. They need to be able to represent the look and feel of a film, while also being stylish and appealing enough to be memorable. However, the purpose and method of designing titles has changed since the beginning of cinematic history, from creating informative slides to creating beautiful works of art. In this supercut, Danielle Del Plato reveals the 100-year evolution of title slides, from 1915's Birth of a Nation to 2016's Birdman.

When we think about masters of title design, we typically think about artists like Saul Bass and Dan Perri, who have managed to design title sequences that have stuck in our minds for decades. Though not as recognizable as McDonald's golden arches or the Nike swoosh, the titles of North by Northwest, The Man with the Golden ArmStar Wars, and The Exorcist are quite distinguishable for cinephiles and filmmakers.

But it's not just the experienced artists that make a splash in title design. One of my favorite title sequences comes from Napoleon Dynamite and was designed by the film's director, Jared Hess. It's proof that not every title needs to be particularly beautiful, complicated, or even well done; if they simply capture the spirit of the film, then it can all be as simple as using mustard to write your actors' names on a corndog.

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