Marvel Studios
Main Title Sequence
End Crawl
Typeface Design
Kinetic Type
CG (Computer Graphics)
3D Modeling
2D Animation
VFX/Visual Effects
Animation
Motion Design
Finishing
Stereoscopic

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. I and II

In love and in art, nothing’s more impactful than the first and last impression. Nobody knows that better than a filmmaker. That’s why the title sequence is so important. Setting the stage or sealing the take-away message, a great title-sequence finesses them both.  With that in mind, we are so proud to have created these sequences for both Volume 1 & 2 of Marvel Studio’s Guardians of the Galaxy saga.

Play Vol.1
Play video
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 1

When we first meet our Star-Lord hero Peter Quill, his ship has just landed in dark and stormy Morag. Shadowy, and loaded with ghostly figures and the stealth of our hero, it was crucial that the first flashes of type we showed would quietly establish the galactic location, augmenting but not disrupting the feel and tone of the building story.  But when Quill hits “play” on his ‘70s-era Sony Walkman and strains of Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” burst forth, the mood changes to energetic fun and our type goes right along with it. The Guardians of the Galaxy main title, in the glowing gold typeface we custom-created, blazes on to the screen.  And when Quill boots a few alien lizards, lip-syncs and dances, the credits dance too.

The Locators
For the super fan’s out there: Those numbers are accurate.

We also created all of the locator cards for the film. The look was reminiscent of the interface design, but super legible because it was important for the storytelling.

Proud ♥

“The title sequence is not some cheap button that we put on a film. For us, it’s like the jewel in the crown, the treasure. Sarofsky has been an essential partner in making it that.”

Play Vol.2
Play video
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2

In contrast to the original film, Volume II’s opener is high-energy from the start, landing us in a galactic inferno of superhero warfare. But echoing Quill’s Walkman moment, the instant Baby Groot puts plug to boom-blaster socket and the sounds of Electric Light Orchestra’s infectious “Mr. Blue Sky” beat out, he is transfixed. Completely oblivious to the melee around him, Baby Groot stays immersed in the joy of the music. Dancing over flailing tentacles and the bodies of Guardians battling around him, little Groot grooves on, up to and beyond the freeze-frame of him and the main title filling the screen.

What’s great about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is that they shot the whole opening sequence specifically to have the type in there. So once we got down to the typesetting work during post-production there were lovely compositions to work with.

Making the title card was a fun process because the card had to physically be in the space. We designed the typeface, extrapolated it out, modeled it, did render tests, texture tests and book frames, and then we took all of our models and assets and handed off to Framestore to actually render the title right into the scene.

A fun detail?  The “Vol. 2” portion of the card plays like a neon tube that glows and interacts with the environment and Baby Groot.
The Locators
The End Crawl

But our work wasn’t done! Thrilled with our main title solutions, Marvel Studios asked us to also do the end crawl. Finding creative ways to entertain audiences while they’re waiting for the cool tags that come at the end of a film is no small task.

“You go from a main title which can be very artful, to an end crawl which has thousands of names. It’s like reading a contract,” says Erin. “My god! Unless your name, or your kid’s name is in it, there’s a pretty good chance you’re not reading it! So, to keep eyes on the screen and give people things to laugh at and be engaged with was a challenge.”

Our winning concept for the crawl came with a built-in ‘70s vibe: Album covers.  Literally raiding our family’s closets, we searched out and scanned scratched-up old album covers, referencing the colors and graphics in our artwork, while being careful not to include anything too referential or specific.

Adding interest through the scroll of names, Marvel Studios tucked multiple post-credit scenes right into the sequence—something it’s known for doing very well. Our design was shaped to motivate those transitions. Tying into the galaxy’s ship motif, we used lasers to carve out the headline type. Then, we packed in all sorts of sight gags. Characters from the films and the Marvel Universe dance in the margins, along with scribbled graffiti and flashing type that starts with “I am Groot!” and transforms into actors’ names. There’s a dancing Rocket, a Mantis…even Jeff Goldblum and Howard the Duck take a turn.

The whole point of the end crawl was for it to feel fun and gif-like, so we just started popping stuff in and making it work. Gunn, and the team at Marvel Studios loved where we were heading with this and were constantly asking, “What else can we put in here?” all the way through to delivery.

A Bit About The Process

In love and in art, nothing’s more impactful than the first and last impression. Nobody knows that better than a filmmaker. That’s why the title sequence is so important. Setting the stage or sealing the take-away message, a great title-sequence finesses them both.

The title sequences we created for Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Volumes I & II, are prime examples. When Writer/Director James Gunn shaped the openers for both films, he did so with type and titles front of mind.

James literally wrote each opening sequence as a bed for main titles, which is a rare and wonderful thing. Walking into something that is already well thought out is completely different than being told, “I don’t know! Show us some cool stuff and we’ll pick something that is totally different.”

While not a typographer or a traditional designer, Gunn had a very specific point of view about the design for each title sequence, and the vision for how he wanted these to work.

For both films, each bit of type serves a different purpose. Whether crediting makers and stars, or announcing the name of the film, the typography’s look, feel, tone and timing had to change to fit seamlessly into the Galaxy’s universe.

Project Credits 
  • Creative Director
    Erin Sarofsky
  • Executive Producer
    Rachel Steele
  • CG Supervisor
    Andre Zazzera
  • Visual Effects Supervisors
    Matthew Crnich
  • John Filipkowski
  • Designers
    Jason Hammel
  • Chris Salvador
  • Motion Designers
    Duarte Elvas
  • Josh Smiertka
  • John Filipkowski
  • Tnaya Witmer
  • Dan Tiffany
  • Zach Landua
  • Alex Kline
  • Finishing
    Cory Davis
  • Associate Producer
    Michael Burke
  • End Crawl Execution
  • Music By
Client Credits 
  • Client
  • Producer
    Kevin Feige
  • Executive Producers
    Louis D’Esposito
  • Victoria Alonso
  • Director
  • Post Producer
    Jennifer Bergman

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