Broadcast Design: Imaginary Forces Takes a "Mad" Plunge

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The title sequence for AMC's new Mad Men, a series that has hit written all over it — the show was created by Sopranos exec producer/writer Matthew Weiner, and the critics are basically mad about it — is the work of Hollywood's Imaginary Forces , which also produced the Mad Men on-air promo package, based on imagery developed for the open. The titles feature a silhouetted man — presumably tortured lead character Don Draper, CD at 1960s ad agency Sterling Cooper — in a dreamlike free-fall punctuated with advertising images amid a stylized cityscape. According to Imaginary Forces directors Mark Gardner and Steve Fuller, the brief presented by Weiner was simply, " 'A man walks into an office and starts to fall, but the fall needed to be done in a dreamlike way, more fantasy than reality,' and he liked the fact that we fought the tendency to use the fall to create a visual climax." Indeed, the open evokes a curiously laid-back sense of despair, abetted by the music, RJD2's "A Beautiful Mine," as it manages to incorporate some 30 credits while meeting Weiner's request for an uncluttered "cinematic feel." As for the typography, "After a full logo exploration, we came back to where we started: Trade Gothic Bold, straight up," explains Fuller. "We couldn't beat its modernist, no-nonsense look. Matt Weiner and our clients at AMC didn't want anything too fussy, and neither did we. This font looked great in 1960 and it looks great now. Plus, the title of the show is so strong, we didn't want to overthink or overdesign the logo."

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