• Steven Heller

Film Titles, 8-Bit Art, and Type Explored

Off Book is a web-original series from PBS, produced by Kornhaber Brown, that explores cutting-edge art, the artists that make it, and the people that share it online. And if you haven’t watched it yet, please do. The range of stories (new episodes every other Thursday) is broad yet totally targeted at a young, design-savvy audience. Among the shows (with descriptions from PBS):

Guess Who?


Blue Valentine

The Art of Film & TV Title Design: The credits are often the first thing we see when we watch a great film or TV show, but the complexity and artistry of title design is rarely discussed. Creators of title sequences are tasked to invent concepts that evoke the core story and themes of the production, and to create a powerful visual experience that pulls the viewer into the film’s world. In this episode we hear the stories of some of the most inventive people working in the field, including Peter Frankfurt and Karin Fong, Imaginary Forces, creators of the iconic Mad Men sequence, Ben Conrad’s hilarious Zombieland opening and “rules” sequences, and Jim Helton’s stirring end credits from Blue Valentine.

The Evolution of 8-Bit Art: Beginning with early Atari and Nintendo video games, the 8-bit aesthetic has been a part of our culture for over 30 years. As it moved through the generations, 8-bit earned its independence from its video game roots. The idea of 8-bit now stands for a refreshing level of simplicity and minimalism, is capable of sonic and visual beauty, and points to the layer of technology that suffuses our modern lives. No longer just nostalgia art, contemporary 8-bit artists and chiptunes musicians have elevated the form to new levels of creativity and cultural reflection.

Typography: Type is everywhere. Every print publication, website, movie, advertisement and public message involves the creation or selection of a fitting typeface. Online, a rich and artistic typographical culture exists, where typefaces are created and graphic design seeps in to every image.Typeface designers Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones outline the importance of selecting the right font to convey a particular feeling. Graphic designer Paula Scher talks about building identity in messaging, while Eddie Opara uses texture to create reaction. Infographic designers Julia Vakser and Deroy Peraza map complicated data sets into digestible imagery, mixing color, graphics and type.

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