Howdy from Austin, where I gave an SXSW Interactive presentation called “The Secret Language of Movie Posters.” During some downtime, I managed to catch a screening of the film-title sequences competing for the Excellence in Title Design award. I also had fun perusing the contenders for the Excellence in Poster Design award in the Austin Convention Center. SXSW announced the winners on its website on Saturday, March 17. Here’s a recap.
Excellence in Poster Design
Winner: The Gospel of Eureka.
In the documentary The Gospel of Eureka, love, faith, and civil rights collide in the South as evangelical Christians and drag performers step into the spotlight to explore the meaning of belief. Matt Taylor evokes the tension between the gospel drag shows and passion plays by juxtaposing a statue of Jesus with the signature pride rainbow that symbolizes the diversity of the LGBTQ communities. The fine colorful circles rippling outward make it seem as if the Messiah is emitting psychic waves of forgiveness, acceptance, and tolerance. The title (set in Futura Extra Bold) and other textual information are cleverly placed at the bottom of the canvas. Miles Newlyn’s New Hero updates and refines the concept of the classic geometric sans serif for contemporary audiences; it would have worked well here.
Special Jury Recognition: A Little Wisdom.
A Little Wisdom tells the story of children who find happiness through simplicity and the power of imagination, recounting the joys and sorrows of five-year-old Tibetan novice monk Hopakuli as he endures the rigors of monastic life. Adam Zhu crafted an intense image in vibrant hues, like a psychedelic dream, with animal silhouettes symbolizing Buddhism’s close connection with nature. Unfortunately, the brush script used for the movie title disappoints—notice how the outgoing strokes that are supposed to make the connections are knocked out in the succeeding letters. Underware’s Duos also comes in a Brush style and a beautifully textured Paint variant—impeccable connections guaranteed!
Excellence in Title Design
Karin Fong’s title sequence delves into an intricate world of parallel dimensions, doppelgängers, secrets, and suspense. Repeating and morphing patterns combine with the monospaced rhythm of a typewriter font to create an alienating, dreamlike sequence that resolves into a New-Deal-style faceted sans for the show’s title.
Special Jury Recognition: Godless.
Director: John Likens.
Executive Creative Director: Jon Noorlander.
Computer Graphics Supervisor: Ivan Guerrero.
Method’s design team crafted an artfully gritty opening title sequence for this feminist Western series. Incorporating themes and visual cues from the script plunges viewers into the dusty, dangerous Wild West of the 1880s. A slab serif similar to Belizio spells out the credits, with a transitional serif face that looks like Baskerville as the supporting typeface. Matthew Carter’s Big Moore was inspired by the same models.
That’s it for this little festival excursion! We’ll return to our regularly scheduled ScreenFonts programming soon.
Bald Condensed, né Yves Peters, is a Belgian-based rock drummer known for his astute observations on the impact of letterforms in the contemporary culture-sphere. A prolific writer on typography, he has a singular knack for identifying the most obscure typefaces known to humankind.