Martin F Norden

The film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is about the triumph of good over evil, and that is what people want right now. -Robbie Coltrane, shortly after the 9 11 terrorist attacks1 Evil, as Time writer Lance Morrow reminds us, is one of our most important words, invested as it is with the dignity of mystery and theology.2 Though we live in a relativistic age marked by ever-increasing secu-larity, the term is far from anachronistic. Despite our efforts to understand extreme antisocial...

The Titles for American Psycho

I would now like to contrast the titles for Psycho and Se7en, and the milieu that produced them, with a rather different take on the notion of evil. American Psycho 2000 is based on the notorious Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name and was directed by Mary Harron, whose credits also include I Shot Andy Warhol 1996 and episodes of the TV shows Oz 1997-2003 and Homicide Life on the Street 1993-99 . While it features Hollywood stars such as Christian Bale, Reese Witherspoon, and Willem Dafoe,...

Type Typography and Lettering Writing Evil

Kyle Cooper is the guru of main titles. He's the Saul Bass of now. A title sequence does not exist without text. And this is the key, perhaps, to understanding why graphic designers have become the preeminent creators of contemporary opening credit sequences it is their specific understanding of how to orchestrate images and words, and their ready skill in selecting and manipulating lettering and type, that make designers particularly adept at title design. A key debate - at least in design and...

From Storyboard to Celluloid

If, as Cooper and Fincher suggest, the titles for Se7en are to be understood as having been made by Doe himself, it seems safe to conclude that all of the imagery in the sequence has been selected by him and is representative of his interests and obsessions. After all, the sequence offers a fairly straightforward narrative Doe is actively assembling his scrapbooks literally stitching stories together out of the detritus, medical follies, and physical and mental miseries of modern human...

An Opening The Lore of Film Title Design

Critical writing on movie title sequences is a marginal, even parenthetic, activity within the larger projects of film and media studies. This is a factor I intend to exploit here in order to offer a novel perspective that treats film titles as designed artifacts the products of an expanding support industry dominated historically by optical printing houses but increasingly colonised by graphic designers. Specifically, then, how do designers - as opposed to film directors - imagine evil What...

Notes

My thanks to Will Straw, Sarah Kozloff, Lesley Husbands, Scott Prentice, the members of the type discussion forum at lt www.typofile.org gt , and, finally, to Marty Norden for a valuable opportunity to write about graphic design in a scholarly context. 1. Psycho 1960 was remade - practically shot for shot - by Gus Van Sant and released in 1998. The titles were remade in colour by another well-known title designer, Pablo Ferro. Ferro has designed the titles for, amongst other films, Dr....