Black and White / Type and Titles

Words and lettering played an enormous role in films of the silent era. Film titles made their appearance in the earliest silent films, along with letter cards (or inter-titles), which provided context….Film titles and letter cards had to provide essential information to the viewer. For reasons such as ease of production and clarity, artists favored mono-stroke letterforms or characters with small serifs. White lettering on a black background is another characteristic of this era, because titles simply looked better this way when projected with live-action B&W film.” - Julia May, 2010 (Smashing Magazine Article)


So, if you haven’t already figured out our genre (that our semester luckily had a choice on), it is black and white / silent films. I think the two little excerpts I got from the smashing magazine article pretty much sums up my genre and the era I’m taking it from.

The smashing magazine article provides excellent insight to the typography used in old black and white silent films. A lot of the typography used back then, was inspired by art movements such as art nouveau, art deco and expressionism and they were usually used selectively depending on the subject matter of the movie. 

I’ve already started searching for similar fonts that I could potentially use in my title sequence. However, I do want to keep the type a lot more contemporary while still keeping that black and white silent film look. I am leaning towards a sans-serif similar to Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove title credits or Truffaut’s Le Dernier Metro (example below). I love how the typography used is timeless, almost like Woody Allen’s choice of type for his title credits (although he favours Windsor). Just a simple type that could be slightly altered to help create a strong title credit sequence. I’m kind of excited now.