The Art of the Line

When I discuss design with someone and am asked about my design philosophy, I always come back to the power of the line. To me, good line and space are the foundation of any good design. One can have all the colors, gradients, drop shadows, and special effects one wants…but without a strong underpinning, it’s just slop on a page.

I was reminded of this today when I was reading “The Art of the Title” list of best title sequences of the year. There in the middle was a title that stopped me cold the first time I saw it on screen. It’s black and white and with some occasional red thrown in. Any one of these frames stand on their own – but put them to music and motion and the effect is jaw-dropping.  Sit back for 2 minutes, turn the screen up to full, and watch.  We’ll discuss in 2 minutes

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Main On End Titles from Sarofsky on Vimeo.

Everything is just. so. right.

The attention to detail: the ‘wings” on the SHIELD emblem fanning out; the gears that segue into Hydra coils. Every single character is instantly recognizable even as depicted by flat black and white forms.


One look at that silhouette and you KNOW (even without the title) that it’s Chris Evans. The uniform detailing also delineates his form and structure. (and the vignetting on the left frames it beautifully)

And the continuity from forms in one sequence to another is flawless. Yes, admittedly it uses the currently popular parallax effect for the opening sequence and elsewhere – but it’s done intelligently and it enhances the sequence.

But above all….the design is just so spot on! How can flat space look that damned dimensional?

Title Art Director Erin Sarofsky talks about the creation of the sequence here.  I’m thrilled that he loves the character silhouettes as much as I do!

“My favorites of the actor vignettes are Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan. They are just so simple and well executed. It’s not easy to refine something into its simplest form and still have it look right. Especially in silhouette, where the slightest thing being off will make the person look unrecognizable. We literally talked about Chris’s eyelashes for days.”

Want to read and view the entire 10 title sequences?  Hop on over to The Art of the Title.  DO also view “Manhattan”  I’ll probably also touch on the “True Detective”  sequence in a later post – a title that is 180 degrees from this one, but oh so rightly done as well.

Posted in Philosophy