The Art of the Title

The first few minutes of a film will often either leave the audience full of excitement and eager to see how the story of the movie will play out, wondering what hints they were shown in the opening credits to what they’re about to watch. Sometimes these opening moments are grander than the film that follows them. Sometimes you talk to your friends about the notebooks instead of the head in the box, or the silhouetted men running around more than the prodigy delinquent. Ian & Alex of The Art of the Title Sequence are two curators of a collection of title sequences best described as fine art.

With the amount of media we are shown every day, to be willing to sit down for two hours and say to the film makers “alright then, you have 120 minutes of my life” is no small feat. Not to mention that we have conditioned ourselves into jumping from topic to topic, idea to idea, advertisement to advertisement, resulting in diminished attention spans.

So when that 120 minutes starts up, the first three or four might be some of the most important. If the opening credits to a film bore us, we would be forgiven for feeling the whole film will be boring. If they’re exciting and manage to push our cart to the top of an emotional roller-coaster, then there we’ll be, sitting at the edge of our seats, strapped in, waiting to be thrown around.

Ian Albinson and Alex Ulloa are two who enjoy that roller-coaster and have the discussions about the notebooks. The two behind the immensely addictive site The Art of the Title Sequence have a passion for those opening moments and regularly show some of the best to have been created.

They were kind enough to give me a few moments of their time and provide one of those interviews you wish never really ended.

What is it that good title sequences share?

A: They are original in a way that is either daring and challenging, or clever and wonderful. They are always thoughtful; even those with raging adrenaline and nervy force have a thoughtfulness to them.

I: Almost all tell a story, however straightforward or abstract they may be.


The now legendary opening sequence to Se7en.

It seems like title sequences are to Se7en as branding is to the FedEx logo (and it’s white-space arrow) – why do you think the opening credits to Se7en serve as a suitable gateway drug to explaining the world of title sequences, as the FedEx logo does to explaining branding?

A: Because they were both lucky and smart. Have you seen Man on Wire (note this: much of life relates back to Man on Wire)? When the physicality of Philippe Petit stretches and lays amongst the clouds in actual manifestation of a man realizing-and-soaking-in-and-being-playful-with His Dream we understand—once we’re over the drunken thrill of this incredible moment—that this man was smart, but he was also lucky enough to have existed at a moment in history where twin monuments were being built. So goes the opening title sequence for Se7en (the film itself being the rare example of every collaborative element, which is to say the whole of it, was executed to perfection), this new standard in title sequences equalled the film and the film delivered the brilliant tonal darkness promised in the sequence. That sequence and the classic example you provided in the FedEx logo have a depth and thoughtfulness to the ‘communicative attributes‘ within. Thank you for the question; because of it I revisited a posting I hadn’t thought of in years.

This new standard in title sequences equalled the film

An Interview with David Airey

Chances are, if you’ve been following the design wing of the blogosphere, you know the name of logo designer David Airey. He’s been writing inspiring content for just over two years and has developed quite a following, inspiring many to start their own blogs. He’s also the person behind one of the web’s best logo blogs — Logo Design Love. David was kind enough to answer a few questions about his home, his process, blogging and thoughts.

AC: Hi David, thanks for taking the time to have a chat. Let’s start with your home of Scotland. You’ve said before that you find inspiration in the Scottish outdoors—can you provide any photos or describe some of your favorite spots? What is it that you love about it and how do you find it stimulates your creativity?

DA: Hi Alex, you’re more than welcome for my time. Thanks for asking me to contribute to your website.

I did find great inspiration in the Scottish outdoors, though for the past couple of months I’ve been living in Northern Ireland, my birthplace. There’s an equal amount of beauty in the Irish countryside though, so I spend a fair amount of time in the fresh air.

My creativity is stimulated by everything around me. Nature, architecture, people. There’s no one source that’s greater than others.

A photo of Dunluce Castle from the North coast of Ireland

AC: When you think about your first job as a designer, is it a fond memory or a terrifying one? How would you have done the job differently now?

DA: My first employed design position was one I greatly enjoyed. I was responsible for the branding and marketing material for a small Scottish cancer charity, and I learnt a great deal about the print industry by being thrown in at the deep end. If I was to take on the task again, I’d be more confident in expressing ideas, although back then I knew a lot less than I do now (still a long way to go, however).

By treating my clients with respect from the outset,
I find they’re much more likely to do the same

The Creative Blogger ~ Jacob Cass

Blogging has become the platform for many people to voice their opinions, give advice, inspire and teach. Some of the people in the ‘blogosphere’ have become celebrities within their niche, while most stay shrouded in obscurity, no matter how much effort and love they pour into their little space of the web. A lot of those who succeed seem to be able to do it in a manner which appears effortless, and do so amazingly quickly. Jacob Cass is one of those people. He was kind enough to answer a few questions about blogging, university and design.

From 0 to 6,000 (and counting) subscribers in less than a year, Jacob Cass has propelled Just Creative Design to some amazing places. In that time, his name has been on many sites listening him as either one of the most successful bloggers under 21 or in Australia, mentioned in an episode of LayersTV and has written guest articles for Daily Blog Tips, Creative Curio, David Airey and Freelance Switch. A decent list for someone under the legal drinking age in the United States. But the most impressive thing about Jacob? Given his rapid popularity, he is still an easy going, approachable and nice guy.

Alex Charchar: Let’s start off by talking about your blog, Just Creative Design. You’ve been blogging for less than 12 months, yet you’ve built up a considerable audience. When you were starting, did you expect it to be the success that it has been so quickly? Why do you think you’ve been able to grow the audience so rapidly?

Jacob Cass: I never expected to grow so quickly, in fact when I first started blogging my goal was to have 1,000 subscribers by the end of 12 months which is a bit of a laugh now, considering.

It hasn’t been easy growing the audience so rapidly, I did and do put a lot of work into the blog writing quality articles, replying to comments, reading, promoting and commenting on other blogs along with researching SEO techniques and keywords constantly. I started off back in November not knowing one thing about SEO, Blogging or Social Media… In fact I didn’t even have a friend online. I guess it just shows that building a blog from nothing can be done.

I started off back in November not knowing
one thing about SEO, Blogging or Social Media

Home Office, Sweet Home Office ~ Two

What would be the point in having a home office, if it didn’t feel like a home? If the first part of this two-part article was about the office in home office, or perhaps a simple introduction to the needs of a freelancer, then this second one is about the home. A home should feel comfortable and inviting. A place of refuge, inspiration and relaxation, a place worth spending your time and a place that should be yours—a true reflection of who you are. It goes without saying that this is especially true of the home office. It should be a space that you can be in for long hours and never feel uncomfortable or out of place. A space that lets your creative juices flow, without stifling or restricting your imagination. I was lucky enough to speak to the editor of Design*Sponge, Grace Bonney, as well as Amsterdam based creative, talented and all round good guy, Martin Pyper about these types of places.

We all know the feeling of coming home after a rough day. Our homes give us safety and warmth and love. We feel comfortable in our homes. We put that which will make us smile on the walls and the books that make us think on the shelves. Our collections are scattered everywhere and, more often than not, we somehow turn our mountain of possessions into the foundations of our home. Brick and timber may build our houses, but it’s the heart and soul that strengthen our homes. So if you were to have an office that is a part of your home, why not pour your heart and soul into it? Make it yours as best you can and make it an inspiring and beautiful place and your well of inspiration shall never run dry.

Grace Bonney

For the editor of Design*Sponge, the name Grace is rather fitting. She and the other writers she works with on D*S manage to bring their audience beauty several times a day. Design*Sponge is one of the sites that make me smile when it pops up in my RSS reader. From the work of illustrators and product and interior designers to beautiful furniture, lovely textiles and all the bits and pieces you’d need to make your home feel like home. The content they provide gives so much inspiration that you’ll want to start making additions to your own home as soon as you load the homepage up. Go and visit it, visit it often, I gurantee you won’t be disapointed.

It is such a thrill for me to have had my questions answered by Grace, as I’ve been following D*S for quite a while and always wanted to reach out and have a quick chat. She was kind enough to make time in her busy schedule to give us a few tips on how to make an office a home.

What do you think is one of the easiest ways someone can make a home office more comfortable, especially on a tight budget? Are there any must haves?
Absolutely – the easiest things to change out are lighting, floors (with the addition of rugs or carpet tiles) and desk accessories. I always suggest to readers that they soften things up by adding interior lamps rather than ‘office’ lamps, or try something dramatic and adding in a chandelier or bold pendant lamp above their desk. If you don’t have a home office or permission to change hardwired lighting stick to colorful table lamps found at inexpensive stores like cb2.com and Target (Target AU).

Soften things up by adding interior lamps rather than ‘office’ lamps, or try something dramatic and add in a chandelier or bold pendant lamp

Home Office, Sweet Home Office ~ One

Ahhh, working from home. When it comes to being a freelancer, there is a myriad of reasons why it’s a good idea. The strongest one of which, for most of us anyway, is that you can work from home. But there is no point working from home, if you haven’t got a home office worth working out of. You might be free to roam, but you need a good base, a home office that functions just like an office should, but is as comfortable as a home should be at the same time. So let’s have a look at what makes working from home possible and how it can be done. In this article, the first of two, I speak to Skellie, a writer from a plethora of well known freelance blogs, as well as a creative designer with an incredibly beautiful home, Traci Yau. So go grab a coffee and a biscuit and get ready for some great advice!

Looking at the home offices of others seems to settle a voyeuristic need in some of us. It gives us insight into the minds and processes of others. The frames and posters on the walls, the piles and shelves of books, the nick-knacks on the desks and the big, shiny gadgets are rather inspiring. Seeing what makes people comfortable in their environments reminds us of what makes ourselves comfortable in our own spaces. Creative minds need creative spaces, something doubly important for the freelancer, for whom the luxury of bouncing ideas off the person at the next desk is rarely an option.

Skellie

When it comes to freelancing and blogs, Skellie has a resume second to none. A rather obvious choice really – writing one of my favorite blogs, Skilliewag, being a staff writer for ProBlogger.net, Daily Blog Tips, Freelance Switch and many more, the depth of her knowledge is astounding and her writing style easy to understand and enjoyable to read.

The latest online adventure for Skellie comes in the form of Anywired.com; helping those who want to work-on-the-go in their quest to achieve their dream, as well as giving great and practical tips on blogging and freelance life. It comes as no surprise to anyone that has read any of the mentioned sites that Skellie is a number one choice to answer a few questions about how to put the freelance into a freelancers home office. Luckily she was able to put aside a little bit of time from her busy schedule of writing and studying to answer a few questions. And in true Skellie fashion there is much wisdom in the answers given.

Freelancers could share rental space with other freelancers, or always work on the move – what do you think makes the idea of having an office at home so appealing? What do you think is the best part of that type of lifestyle?
I think the allure of the home office is multi-faceted. You don’t have to spend time in traffic or on crowded public transport to get to work. You can control your environment, set it up as you like, decorate it as you like. You can do the ‘working in my Pyjamas’ thing if that appeals to you. You can structure your day freely. But nothing is perfect, and working at home is no exception. Freelancers do sometimes complain about feeling isolated, and that working at home breeds procrastination and distraction to an extent. That’s something we all have to keep an eye on.

You can do the ‘working in my Pyjamas’ thing
if that appeals to you