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Best of Stash 2016: Title Design

With over 450 scripted series airing in the US during 2016, it’s safe to say a show’s title sequence is more crucial than ever in helping it stand apart from the pack. Here’s the most interesting work we found this year plus three exceptional event titles that also deserve your love.

Lots of visual star power in this list including top title mavens Patrick Clair, Erin Sarofsky, and Imaginary Forces, plus motion masters Buck, ONESIZE, Method, and Hornet. HBO comes in as the top client, appearing twice.

Listed in chronological order from the date of publication in the Stash Permanent Collection.

Powered by a dark and dirty theme from Atticus Ross, Erin Sarofsky’s titles for Animal Kingdom, John Wells’ new drama project on TNT, fill the luxurious 60-second run-time with lots of gritty atmosphere and high-speed, skin-throbbing needles.

Sarofsky: “John Wells and Jonathan Lisco asked us to look beyond the surface of the show. They described how the humor, the Oedipal complex underlying their relationships, the complexity of each of the individual characters and the tension, love and codependency they all share impacts all aspects of the characters’ lives.”

Spectacular self-initiated spec title sequence (with credit names borrowed from Ghost in the Shell characters) crafted by Beijing visual designer Zaoeyo (aka Xiaolin Zeng, aka Mike Zeng), a mesmerizing one-man tour de force of thoughtful details and shimmering refraction.

Director Rupert Burton at Method Studios in New York: “They wanted something very raw and upbeat. It would open the event at MoMA so our main goal was to create something visually engaging to keep the audience fully entertained.

“We had around 45 different avatars to create so there was a lot of experimentation from the start. The motion capture shoot allowed us to play around with a wide variety of movements. Ultimately we wanted the piece feel as playful and tactile as possible.

Peter Frankfurt and the Imaginary Forces crew capture the Zeitgeist of 1970s New York in the Emmy-nominated titles for HBO’s music business drama “Vinyl” with a visceral interpretation of the sex, drugs, fashion, hedonism, and chaos that defined the dawn of punk, disco, and hip-hop.

Fresh off his Emmy win for Outstanding Main Title Design on The Man In The High Castle, Elastic director Patrick Clair invokes a touch of future-tech terror pushing 3D printing into beautiful and ominous new territory in these opening credits from Episode 1 of Westworld on HBO.

The Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg’s massive annual music bacchanal, launched with these playful titles full of smooth and soothing CG via hometown motion designers Vitaly Grossmann and Vincent Schwenk.

Vitaly and Vincent: “There are more than 700 events in over 70 locations in just four days. So we wanted our concept to reflect the great variety of the festival through a moving cube with different sides, each side representing a different topic of the festival in the middle of Hamburg.

The 2016 STYLE FRAMES design conference opened in spectacular fashion with this luminous title sequence lovingly designed and animated by Hornet director Eran Hilleli with music and sound design from Disasterpeace.

Eran Hilleli: “This being a title’s piece, I didn’t want the narrative to take too much attention so, with a rough plan, I set out to explore characters, landscapes and atmospheres. It’s been a challenge handling so many characters and assets. I cooked up a fun workflow between C4D character tools and Adobe Maxim, which gave me the freedom to create and explore freely.”

ECD Orion Tait and the Buck crew in New York conjure a psychotropic intro for David Blaine’s latest magic special (complete with VO by Christopher Walken) reflecting just how disoriented and delighted the audience feels after witnessing Blaine’s low-key but mind-f#cking feats.

The sixth season of FX Networks’ American Horror Story punches out of the hyper-crowded broadcast market with a startling intro sequence from Amsterdam 3D mavens ONESIZE.

Kasper Verweij, CD and partner at ONESIZE: “We have always been motivated by pushing the boundaries in visual communication and about uniting the experimental with the commercial. One seamless camera move takes the viewer through the previous five seasons, ending on a question mark and the number six. The retracting camera move symbolizes retreat, running away from the action.”

Immediate Byte