Last Spring, SNL’s 45th season came to a strange close thanks to COVID-19, with the surreal “SNL at Home” series.
Now, SNL is back at 30 Rock in Manhattan—and Pentagram’s latest volume of titles for the show celebrates a fact that would be a given in any other year.
Emily Oberman directed the project (created in collaboration with SNL photographer Mary Ellen Matthews and film unit director Paul Briganti), and led a team consisting of Laura Berglund, Jase Hueser, Matt Varner, Zoe Chrissos and Daniel Zender.
The opening depicts a homecoming, with the various (masked) cast members convening on SNL HQ.
“The legendary sketch comedy show is built around the camaraderie of its cast and is returning to audiences who have experienced months of social distancing, separation and anxiety and are looking to reconnect,” the design firm writes. “SNL is a cultural touchstone and its return has relevance as the world tries to reset. With the new opening, SNL wanted to recognize the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic and show that NYC––which is practically a cast member itself––is still alive and ready to get through this.”
The SNL logo is hand-painted, and cast names are hand-drawn, emphasizing human connection. The footage itself is black and white, save for a moment when Kate McKinnon points to a relighted NBC marquee.
As Pentagram details, “The lo-fi technique was partially inspired by the show’s opening titles in the 1970s, when the city was also weathering hard times and everyone pulled together. Those titles featured hand-painted montages by Edie Baskin that combined slow dissolves of stills with classic portraits of the cast. The new sequence reinvents the approach with imperfect handwriting in vibrant, punk rock colors layered on top.”
See the opener in action below.