Friday, August 16, 2013

New online resource: Movie Title Stills Collections

The Movie Title Stills Collection, is a reservoir of Hollywood film titles: main titles, end titles and typography from cinema trailers captured as screenshots and ordered by decade. It's rather addictive looking through the collection from 1920 to the present day including an 'updates' section for new additions. 

One of the site's main attractions is the number of examples of cinematic typography there are to digest. Reading this short article on Warner Bros. trailer typography reveals that Hollywood studios traditionally employed their own in-house designers. This explains apparent similarities in the style and size of the type up until the 1950s. Interesting comparisons can be made between for example, the typography of titles from the 1940s and those from the present day. While the 1940s titles seem to follow a largely unvaried template, the type design in recent titles seems more concerned about constructing a unique identity for the actual film.

What makes this all the more interesting, is the fact that the film title convention is largely unchanged over almost a hundred years. On any given visit to the cinema, we experience the wait through the trailers, the anticipation of the opening titles and the culmination at 'The End.' These are established rituals enjoyed as part of the cinema-going experience. After visiting the online collection however, it could be said that typography in Hollywood film is still in its infancy with different permutations in letter design only now beginning to be tested, with the aid of new technologies.

The site's creator Christian Annyas tweets whenever a new still is added. If this brings out your inner film buff or extreme compulsive tendencies, follow him @MovieTitles.