Karin Fong Film Titling and Film Titling Experience

Learning about graphic design for me has been a journey about opening my mind to the possibilities, one of which is the title sequence to animations, films, games, etc. The interviews with Karin Fong, director and designer at Imaginary Forces, has helped me better understand and helped remind me about the purpose of graphic design, especially in the moving typography realm.

Karin Fong discussed that in more modern sequels of movies such as the second Terminator and Pink Panther movies, it is important to mimic the previous or original movies and movie titles because it is likely that the same audience has come to view these sequels, and so they expect to see similar themes between them and the first films. For example, not only was there a first Pink Panther film with Steve Martin as the protagonist, but there were also the original films and cartoons, so Karin Fong’s job was to take from the cartoons and previous movies and implement the same whimsical and mischievous cartoons and themes into the Pink Panther 2 title sequence with an updated style to fit modern technology and modern audiences. The same goes for when she worked on Terminator Salvation. The title sequence for Terminator involved analytic technology where the scenes were in the point of view of a machine and so the screen was tinted red with a grid of numbers and letters laid on top, so for Terminator Salvation, the same concept was carried out, but updated to fit what would be possible with modern technology such as a depth measurers and more comprehendible data.

It seems that Fong enjoys the design of animated and filmed titles because of their challenges to engage the audience. One of her first personal projects with an animation that taught children the alphabet through text, sound design, and imagery and loved this type of design ever since. Karin Fong briefly mentioned that title sequences such as the one in Declicatessen were designed to make the audience feel smart by hiding the text within the objects on screen so that it seemed to be a part of the film yet presenting it clearly enough so the audience takes notice and pride themselves on their observation skills. When she worked on the commercial for the video game God of War: Ascension, it was her job to help take a “human perspective on a character who was an incredibly violent man” so that this player would be be more appealing and interest the gaming audience. For the show Black Sails, Fong looked at European art not only to accurately represent the culture of Europe at the time of when the story of the series is taking place, but also to gain a sense of what the common topics may have been during the time so that the art and sculptures in the title sequence could cross-reference the storyline of the show and give the audience this cultural knowledge as well.

Delicatessen title sequence

Black Sails series opening sequence

Every project Karin Fong worked on involved understanding what type of audience would be viewing it so that she could understand what they want from these films and exceed their expectations already through the opening title before the film begins or before the video game is in their hands. From these interviews, I am reminded that what arguably matters most in the field of graphic design is the communication with the audience.