Beginning with “Apocalypse Now,” Tim Girvin has designed over 400 film titles.
We present to you his writings about the Process of Branding.
Typography and Placemaking: The Signage of The Prisoner
When I was studying in London (1976) I met the designer of this font, Albertus, created by Berthold Wolpe.
Illustrative Graphic Identity: The Layered Logos of Aeon Flux
As a designer for motion pictures, I look backwards to go forwards. And I look forwards to go backwards.
The Principles of a Virtual Existence
As a writer, I examine the import of words, where they came from, what they meant, and what they can mean now.
The Untouchable: Mr. Bond
Contemplative of his passage, a robust 90 years, the Sean Connery Bond Legacy is a profound opening casting.
Brand Wonderment: Arcanum Magicae
JJ Abrams shared a similar telling—going where you’re not supposed to—as a storyteller, film-maker and “holder of surprises.”
Alphabetical Wisdom: Tailored Type in the Craft of the Handmade Brand
There are elements that speak louder than others, like the words that message first-off, to a reading brand experiencer.
The Craft of Brand Identity
There is an intriguing challenge in the nature of illustrating the apex of an identity, that which might be called “the first read.”
The Brand Mythology of John Wick
Brand Mysticism in Cinematic Storytelling: Working in the motion picture industry, you see patterning.
Drawing Movie Logos as a Statement
From Mind to Eye to Hand and the Illustration of Language and Ideals
Start-up Wise Guys
What I learned from Stan Lee, Steve Jobs, and the Wachowski siblings
Psychoactive Plants, Hallucinogens, Toxins, and the Wade Davis Movie-Making Legacy
The Design of the Serpent and the Rainbow
Studies in the Titling Design of “Mary Queen of Scots”
The Design of Lost in Space: Netflix 2018
Exploring Industrial Design and Entertainment — How as a story designed?
Branding the Fear of Sound
Designing Logos for “A Quiet Place.”
Meditations on Sir Ridley Scott
Envisioning Enchantment and Stylizing Superreality.
Designing Identities And Titling For Motion Picture Branding.
The Loom Of Time: Messaging, Voice And Imagery
Christopher Nolan’s Narrative Weaving In Dunkirk.
The Bastard Letter: The Game Of Thrones
Littera Bastarda, Jon Snow & the calligraphy of the Game of Thrones.
Stephen Strange: Sigils, Signals, and Signets
Magical design, mystical gestures, emblems and logos for Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange.
The Design of the Doc Savage Logo
In GIRVIN’s history as designers for theatrical marketing and advertising, we’ve got legacy, a heritage of literally hundreds of motion pictures.
The Waft and Weft of Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar.”
There is a story, then a story within the story, a story behind the story, and the story that you hold in your mind, wrists, fingertips.
The Weaving of the Alphabet
Designing the Alphabet of the Film, “The Matrix.” The metaphors of threading, rain, flow, and the loom of meaning in context.
The Draft of Horror
Designing Identities for Scary Storytelling | Gruesome Design for Films “Why is that lettering so spoooky?”
Design That Didn’t Win
Design studies for “The Thing.” This isn’t my work, but worthy of mention and exploration.
Game On | A legacy of Gaming Design
Identity, Story & Experience Design: When you think about a game, it invariably is about play.
Are You a Lone Ranger?
In the Journey, who is your companion? Who is your guardian, your guide, your icon, your shepherding guide? Me? Raven and crow, telling.
The Dark Portal of Design | Star Trek Two
Working in the motion picture business, as a designer for theatrical advertising, the potential of working comes from making introductions, reaching out: connecting.
The touch of the hand, crafting The Lord of the Rings logo drafts
The process of film identity and brand development is intensely competitive, there are a series of talents, team and agencies whose sole enterprises are focused 100% of the time on theatrical advertising.
Tom Ford, James Bond and Design
Theatrical design, costumery, and captivation. There’s always been a supreme masculinity in the legacy of the mythic, Ian Fleming archetypal character and the theatrical playing power of James Bond.
How do you see information as a story? Cinematic interface design as a reference to example. It might be said that the rise of infographics — visualizing, simplifying and organizing content into varying graphical arrays, pictograms, charts, diagrams…
Working with Tony Scott I was shocked to read about Tony Scott’s passage, in the manner of his so-called choosing and — more critically, not knowing the truth in, about, any of it.
The Evil that Men Shall Do: The Dragon Tattoo Brand Design Strategy Logos, fonts, custom alphabets and design strategies: from one sheet to main titles. Logos mean a lot — it’s how people read titles, get the opening draft of the spirit of the holistic story…
Snow White and the Huntsman Archetypes in storytelling, repetitive patterning in the mythic dimension. There is a story, in a story, in a story — interesting is the search for patterning, to contemplate the metaphorical and archetypal character of Snow White, the Legend.
Stanley Kubrick + Douglas Trumbull > Monoliths on Mars During the development of a theatrical advertising campaign — motion picture branding — the best path is to meet with the film crew, the director, the production designer.
Prometheus: Happy Birthday David – Story Actualization Pushing imaginative limits: Ridley Scott: promotional strategies for Prometheus. A couple of weeks back, we wrote a little of our history with the Scott brothers, Ridley and Tony….
Ridley Scott, the TED brand, Alien and the quest for Prometheus Powerful ideas, invention and brand re-alignments, newly imagined. I’m looking for surprise, beauty, spectacle — designing it, looking at it, seeing it, extending that story — the telling of it.
Designing Impossible Missions Hand-Built Titling Fonts in Movie Logos; the Brand Identity for Tom Cruise. Seeing Ghost Protocol… reminded me of earlier efforts — creating at the start, to define brand style for Mission: Impossible.
Exploring the legacy of a typographic design The image comes from the current site/launch of Spielberg and Jackson’s pre-launch strategy of the storytelling of Tintin. Working with Nancy Goliger, former EVP Theatrical Advertising, and her team (then) at Paramount Studios.
Palaeography, design, historical context, and the imagination We didn’t work on the movie Thor. In about twenty years of working for Paramount Studios and Warner Brothers, in particular, we’ve worked on literally hundreds of identity design programs . . .
Filmic Mythology: Brand Storytelling + Cinema The folkloric intuition, legendary dimensions of the lensed visualization. There are cycles, repeating patterning, in the engagement of story and archetype, mystery and beauty.
True Grit: Exploring the Branding of the American Western The spirit of the cowboy, evinced in brand identity. The notion of identity speaks to a holistic rendition of story — graphically drawn: sensately experienced.
The Architecture, the Mind and the Memory: Notes on the Production and Place Design of “Inception.” The metaphor of the mind, architectural design, and the secret of dreams.
The Lost Sketchbooks of Guillermo Del Toro Exploring the journal, the working process and the act of creative development.
Audi and Iron Man | Brand, Story and Product Merchandising Examining Vehicles and Brand Placement. Automobiles represent a fabulous concretion of brands synchronized to complex emotional and value constructs.
Oakley | Thermonuclear brand marketing Cinematic brand alignments, at the end of the world.
Identity design, film, and Sherlock Holmes The sense of time in brand: chronology, palaeography, and theatrical accuracy.
The Avatar Brand of James Cameron Early counsel: the strategy on brand identity, for one of the best motion picture brand developers in the world.
Tim Burton at Moma | The Art of the Hand, the Mind,the Imagining Exploring design, art, and imagination: motion picture branding, Tim Burton, and the legacy of Girvin identity and cinematic brand design.
2012: The End of the World (in a couple of years) Exemplars of Apple Messaging and Brand Product Events: Theatricality and entertainment marketing strategy in the presentation of ideas.
Movie titling design: the craft of the hand Exploring brand in the context of experience design and impression: movie picture brand strategy.
Vampire Brands | True Blood: the emergence of the darker
side. Exploring the fashionability of the preternatural (brand).
Cinematic production design and brand identity Exploring brand in the context of experience design and impression: movie picture brand strategy.
The Soloist | What music means to you? Studying the music, the mind, the meaning — cinematic brand strategy and design.
The Star Trek Logo J.J. Abrams and a return to the authentic identity of Star Trek.
Movie titling sequences, stories and brand The line between the story, the visualization, the brand.
The Soloist: art, music, and schizophrenia in story Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers: exploring concepts of the visual language of creativity, music, madness — and the warmth of humanity in redemption.
Ghosts, Ghost Town, and Ricky Gervais | Paramount + DreamWorks Exploring the illusory: branding ghosts and the veil of what is beyond…
Star Trek 2009 | JJ Abrams, the Brand, the Story & Identity Several years ago I got a call from Paramount Studios to work on a project for JJ Abrams. I’d never heard of him, embarrassingly enough…
Branding Batman | The Dark Knight Advertising Campaign Exploring brand in the context of experience design and impression: movie picture brand strategy.
Speed Racer, V for Vendetta, The Matrix Brand Evolutions and the Wachowski Legacy. Exploring brand in context — from the comical imagination to the full screen.
Beowulf: the movie What calls, from ancient halls, the spirit of that other distant world, far more than a thousand, five hundred years back in the balled skein of time? Beowulf!
In Defense of Tom Cruise | Valkyrie Probably the wrong wave, I’d imagine. But that’s the point of the story to be told. And let’s tell that story.
Notes on the Matrix Design There’s another symbolic value to the O and the 1 beyond the nature of the digital translation of content and interpretation. O, the curved enclosure — is, in sequence etymologically — from Sanskrit — the sunya…
Bossological Exploring broadcast identity design in the context of politics, Kelsey Grammer, and Starz newest series: BOSS.
Brand Posse | Staging brands and performance: Rodarte Design, community, embracement, love — how does the crowd gather round? And when they do, what is the story that they tell?
Exploring the armory of the iron clad: the graphic identity of Iron Man Elemental examinations of material and technology in cinematic design: Earlier in our history as designers of cinematic identity, we were asked to explore the concept of a cinematic treatment of the legacy of Iron Man.
Brand, storytelling, presentation, and spectacle: Steve Jobs Exemplars of Apple Messaging and Brand Product Events: Theatricality and entertainment marketing strategy in the presentation of ideas.
Story: brand, humanity, entertainment The string of imagination — never underestimate the connectivity of the right telling.
The End of the World: 9.09.09 Marketing apocalypse, branding oblivion I’ve been studying some thematic elements in Russian society — a sense of myth, Slavic legend and a kind of genetic leaning in the personality of Eastern European storytelling….
Branding another world | Guild Wars 2 Designing the brand as an excursion into the extraordinary: imagination and digital place-making in adventure.
Branding Anguish | The Human Brand Story of Frank McCourt Examining brand design, storytelling and identity in literature and motion pictures.
The Spiderwick Chronicles: Exploring story in journal narrative For about 15 years, I’ve been using the journal as a kind of narrative to my life. More like a scrapbook, it’s a gathering of ideas and experiences that relate to what I’ve seen, reacted to, contemplating, in the spirit of my creative examinations.
Indiana Jones | Pulp Fiction, Saturday Matinees, Serial Adventures The design heritage of the Indiana Jones franchise. Reaching back into the deep territory of my imagination — and my history as a long-running movie goer, I stride the aisles of Fox Theater…
The American Western: The Myth & the Meaning Or, how I’ve loved the Western Film — as a story concept — since I was a child. A couple of weeks back, I went to see “No Country for Old Men” in NYC…
Death as a sales tool: human brand passage, brand boost The death of Michael Jackson and brand, emotion, memory and sales. It’s an unfortunate synchrony that unexpected passage boosts the propositions of the selling of that person.
Human+Brand+Love | Michael Jackson I’ve written about that idea of the human brand, which I might more effectively relate to the notion of the “human torch” — a fiery inspiration. Going back, thousands of years, into the mists of proto-history…
Film Branding | Luc Besson A directorial style, branded, explorations of cinéma du look.
Valkyrie | Tom Cruise | Design Motion picture design, identity, and historical context: visual propaganda.
Human Brands | Clint Eastwood Exploring Identity, Logo Evolutions & Story in Motion Picture Design. Notes on the history of the Iron Man brand, the evolution of identity and how it comes to be.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Designing identity in story for film. I was born under unusual circumstances.
Nobody’s Fool | Designing for Paul Newman Finding the truth in life, in motion pictures, in storytelling and the character of Paul Newman. What a loss. What a legacy. What a man.
The Branding of Iron Man Exploring Identity, Logo Evolutions & Story in Motion Picture Design. Notes on the history of the Iron Man brand, the evolution of identity and how it comes to be.
Tony Stark | The Iron Man Anthony Edward “Tony” Stark is the man in disambiguation — confused on one front, solid as iron, in another. His metal clad skin covers a soul that is torn and sheared in seething pain. Iron, clasps heart.
Gucci: The Movie; Yves Saint Laurent: The Collection Given some intriguing alignments, it’s time to consider film in the context of luxury storytelling. And there are two present time movements that speak to this abrupt emergence.
About Tim Girvin
Tim Girvin is one of the world’s leading graphic designers and specialists in creating indelible brand identities, with offices in Seattle, New York, and Tokyo. In addition to working with companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Yves Saint Laurent, Nestle, Procter&Gamble, and Wynn Resorts, his work in film is legendary, with over 400 titles to his credit: Star Trek, The Soloist, Iron Man, Beowolf, Mission Impossible I-III, The Unforgiven, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Sleepy Hollow, The Matrix, and Apocalypse Now, to name a few. To learn more, visit Girvin.com.
All material and background artwork ©Tim Girvin