Sarofsky's Main Title, End Crawl for GUARDIANS 2
June 28, 2017 by Screenmag
Since early May, the Marvel Studios blockbuster GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 has taken movie theaters by storm. With the return of Peter Quill, Rocket, Baby Groot, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer and friends to the big screen, thanks to screenwriter, director and producer James Gunn, the work of Chicago-based design-driven production company Sarofsky has been on full display.
In the groundbreaking original GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY release in 2014, Gunn presented Erin Sarofsky's studio with a fun challenge: as a result, their touches were seen in the film's main title sequence with an animated, custom designed typeface and a bold treatment of the film's logo. For the new "Guardians" release, Sarofsky is back for the opening titles again and for the "storytelling" end crawl.
The project officially began with a film screening in Los Angeles, followed by a meeting with the studio, Erin and her executive producer Steven Anderson. They were briefed by Gunn along with Marvel EPs Kevin Feige, Victoria Alonso, Louis D'Esposito and VFX Supervisor Christopher Townsend.
"The first assignment was to explore some ideas the Marvel team had been tossing around since James wrote the opening title scene," Erin said. "In the end, we built off those initial ideas and landed on something that utilizes the typeface we created for the original movie, but executes it in a totally different way. When the neon look got applied to the typography, we integrated that into the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 logotype. That created unity between the titles and the logo."
That custom font Sarofsky developed for the first Guardians film lives on in the new film, while also appearing in the headers of the new end crawl.
Since opening credits and logo appear amidst a vital opening scene, issues like timing, placement, size and transitions drew lots of attention, and so did legibility.
"Even though there was a lot of great negative space to work with, the action happening in the background made it especially challenging to set glowing type on top and have it be legible," Erin said.
Getting everything just right involved very close coordination over a span of months with the producers and artists at Framestore in London, who were responsible for creating the opening scene where the titles appear.
A New Cinematic Art Form
For owners of design companies, historically, certain moments arise that lead them to a crossroads. So often, the decision comes down to a yes or a no. When Gunn and Marvel's executives presented their concept for a new type of end crawl, Erin's initial instinct was lukewarm at best; the idea was to create a new type of armature for the end crawl that would fully engage viewers at the movie's end while leading into the story tags Marvel has become so famous for.
"This was the first time Marvel has considered treating the end crawl as a significant part of the film's experience," Erin said. "It's also the first time we've worked on an end crawl. The responsibility of getting so many names spelled right just seemed daunting."
As part of the plan, Sarofsky was invited to team-up with Exceptional Minds, the company that normally does the Marvel scrolls. On the design side, Sarofsky was invited to do a wide exploration, aiming for an outside-the-box approach that would add new thrills for audiences.
"James made it clear that this was an entirely new sandbox for us all to play in," Erin said. "We couldn't believe what a huge creative opportunity this end crawl proved to be. We really got to cut our teeth doing beautiful design, and in that process, create an eight-minute long piece of very unique entertainment."