Behind the Emmy-nominated show titles from Amazon, Apple, HBO, Netflix and more
Earlier this week the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences announced this year’s Emmy nominees, including those in the running for Outstanding Commercial. But here’s another collection of filmic gems worth taking more than a lingering glance at.
The nominees for Outstanding Title Design, created by firms who have also done some dazzling work in the advertising world, represent an array of techniques artfully woven together to draw people into their respective shows. Next time you go in for a binge watch of any of these series, make sure not to hit “skip.”
Abstract: The Art of Design, Netflix
Godfrey Dadich Partners
Over two seasons, Netflix’s “Abstract: The Art of Design” has dug into the minds of the world’s top designers and explored the influence of design in modern day life. The show was created by Scott Dadich, former Wired editor-in-chief and co-founder of agency Godfrey Dadich Partners, which was also behind the series’ title design. For the nominated titles, from a Season 2 episode about noted typography designer Jonathan Hoefler, the agency team built the idea around Hoefler’s meticulous approach to type. “He sees the details and potential in every specimen he comes across in the world,” says Godfrey Dadich Creative Director Allie Fisher. Working side-by-side with director Brian Oakes and Hoefler, the team “created a sequence that annotated a city full of type, alongside dynamic type textures influenced by Hoefler&Co’s unique method of showcasing fonts,” she adds.
Godfather of Harlem, EPIX
Digital Kitchen/Sid Lee
Digital Kitchen, which became part of agency network Sid Lee, was behind the titles for the EPIX series about infamous Harlem crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Forest Whitaker). Sid Lee USA and Digital Kitchen CCO Cam Levin says that Chris Brancato, the show’s writer and executive producer, wanted to convey the “American Dream,” but through the eyes of the main character. The team was inspired by the work of artist Romare Bearden, whose work largely features compositions of torn images from popular magazines capturing historical moments from the African-American perspective in the '60s.
Carnival Row, Prime Video
Elastic, the award-winning firm founded by Angus Wall, and winner of last year’s Outstanding Title Design Emmy for “Game of Thrones,” earned four nominations this year. One was for HBO’s “Carnival Row,” a moody sequence featuring an ethereal layering of fantastical imagery.
Elastic also earned recognition for its titles for “Watchmen,” which feature a gritty, retro combination of live-action analog elements (a radio dial, push buttons, neon lights) that focus squarely on the letters of the show's name.
The Morning Show, Apple TV+
Elastic, too, was behind the mid-century style animated graphical intro for AppleTV+’s “The Morning Show,” in which lively, playful spheres serve as stand-ins for the characters’ tumultuous, intertwining work and personal lives.
The Politician, Netflix
A fourth nominee from Elastic, for Netflix’s “The Politician,” recreated Ben Platt’s title character in the form of a giant 3D-printed wooden mannequin, “stuffed” with all the “goodies” that make up the the slightly sociopathic high schooler on a quest to becoming President of the United States—from campaign pins and presidential biographies, to bullets and blank checks. “It was like being at Burning Man,” Elastic Creative Director Heidi Berg told Vulture. “It seemed like we were going to set it on fire.”
Antibody, the design firm founded by Patrick Clair and Raoul Marks (who were also behind the recent Xbox ad for the latest installment of the “Halo” franchise), created the “Westworld” Season 3 nominated titles. The team worked with AI Researchers to feed seasons 1 and 2 of the show into a neural network to create a whole new series of images, some “abstract,” some “grotesque,” but all building off their original sources, the company explains on its site. The result? What the creators call “machine dreams” of Westworld.