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The Design Associates

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info@thedesignassoc.com

GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | Seattle

GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | New York

The Design Associates | Tokyo

Tim Girvin’s writing on motion picture design,
originally curated by GIRVIN friend and motion picture composer,
Stuart Balcomb.

Beginning with “Apocalypse Now,” Tim Girvin has designed over 400 film titles.
We present to you his writings about the Process of Branding.

DESIGNING THE DREADFUL

DESIGNING THE DREADFUL

According to a high school buddy, now a Emmy-winning screen writer, horror is the new “it.”
THE UNTOUCHABLE: MR. BOND

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 MAGICÆ

BRAND WONDERMENT | ARCANUM MAGICÆ

JJ Abrams shared a similar telling—going where you’re not supposed to—as a storyteller, film-maker and “holder of surprises.”
THE CRAFT OF BRAND IDENTITY

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.”

Myth and Legend in Branded Storytelling, The Western Legacy

There is a legend, and there was once a mere story, about the Old American West — one that has transfixed the world. Who’s not compelled to admire some part of that storytelling? Or know some rawhide narrative, that has been shared — campfire round, out on the Range,...

Stephen Strange: Sigils, Signals and Signets

MARVEL STUDIOS Magical design, mystical gestures, emblems and logos for Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange While I’d referenced my earlier history with a blog on DocSavage, there was a mirroring in another of my youthful vigil for the mystically adventuresome [and...

Morgan

AI Design Strategies: Can AI work as Creative in the Movie Business? With the plethora of new AI development stories, how far can these applications stretch? IBM’s Watson thinks it can step in. I was studying some content on Adweek, about a new modeling for search and...

Dwayne Johnson as Doc Savage

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 — starting with kickoff logo studies for Francis Ford Coppola’s "Apocalypse Now,” to...

Movie Titling / Hand Craft

Working from Scratch: Customized Type Face Design, Font Development and Motion Picture Design The presumption is — design by hand and the work is better. Is that right? In the study of aligning idea to shining, brand to epiphany, inspiration to magic — there is the...

TEXTUALITY: THE WEAVING OF THE ALPHABET

Designing Alphabets, Messaging and Meaning. The alphabetic coding of “The Matrix.” The metaphors of threading content, digital rain, flow and the loom of meaning in context I was talking to a team of students from my college days, reteaching, again some of the...

The Weaving of Mind, Story, The Library and The Memory

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. They weave. Or lips, in the love story that never ends, it keeps going on,...

The Draft of Horror

Designing Identities for Scary Storytelling | Gruesome Design for Films I was talking to a young aficionado of typography and the lettering arts, as well as a connoisseur of scary movies, and we talked about logos for horror movies. And, to quote, “why is that...

Doug Trumbull’s Brainstorm: UFOTOG

Cinematic innovations Launched at Seattle's Cinerama Reaching back, we worked for Doug Trumbull on Brainstorm. Like any theatrical advertising effort, you've got to know the story, and the tenets of its production design and technical strategy, to create any...

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 Working with Warner Brothers, Joel Silver and the Wachowski siblings on "The Matrix" was a highlight in a string of theatrical advertising...

PRODUCTION DESIGN AND COSMIC ARCHITECTURE

STUDYING THE CREATION OF PLACE IN FILM-MAKING AND COSMICAL INFLUENCES OF ARCHITECTURAL STORYTELLING. When I was in college, I was transfixed by architecture that sought to tell a higher story. Working with the majestic cross-thinking of Professor Lloyd Reynolds, I...

Design that didn’t win | One Sheet Campaign Development

Design studies for "The Thing." This isn't my work [it was pointed out by friend Stuart Balcomb and the poster above was designed by Jock] -- but worthy of mention and exploration. It's interesting, as a perpetual student of design [and theatrical advertising] to...

Game On | A legacy of Gaming Design

Identity, Story & Experience Design When you think about a game, it invariably is about play. Play and game. And, are you having fun? A quick play: see Girvin's gaming movie and specially commissioned sound track. What is play? What is game? Play is an old word....

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. We've noted in an earlier blog study, that we've been involved in the Lone Ranger, as designers, in the past -- the current,...

Digging In, the Soul of Story, Brand:

Visualizing the layering of identity: Iron Man I was moving through, collecting and organizing some earlier Girvin studies for Paramount Studios, and hanging out in the theatre, looking at titling treatments, graphic identities for films and one sheet theatrical...

The Dark Portal of Design | Star Trek Two

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. It's always a journey, the explorations, the examinations, the labyrinths of time,...

The touch of the hand, crafting The Lord of the Rings logo drafts

Design studies for the LOTR and Peter Jackson 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 -- for an outsider...

Tom Ford, James Bond and Design

Theatrical design, costumery and captivation Who's the man? 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 - perhaps never better evidenced that in the persona of...

How do you see information as a story?

Visualizing and organizing the perception of information Cinematic interface design as a reference to example Image above: © Cruise/Wagner + Amblin Entertainment It might be said that the rise of infographics -- visualizing, simplifying and organizing content into...

MySpace Interface

The Interspace: the new MySpace UI Wide Open -- Inner Space -- Interface It's interesting to study the migrations of MySpace, in the challenges of their past failing and flailing attempts to maintain a respectable share of the social online communities. A new logo...

Working with Tony Scott

The Genius of Invention, the Infection of Enthusiasm Weeks later, I've been thinking. 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. Who does, who will:...

WAKA | TokyoCrows

The heart and soul of Crows, People, Cityscape and Poetry: Tokyo Waka | A film KRISTINE SAMUELSON + JOHN HAPTAS image from Waka The Kaw-Call of the Crow | Tokyo. Who couldn't forget this call? Tokyo CROWCALL: Wakaaaa! The character of Waka might relate more to the...

Resident Evil: Retribution tickets on sale now!

Meeting M I L L A Market Restaurant | Paris THE STREAM FLOWS -- BUT WHICH WAY, THE CURRENT? I was thinking about the idea of current flow -- watching leaves in a river, idling -- breeze and river flow moving the leaves along. And in that state, what is their turning...

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 WORKING AS A DESIGNER IN THE THEATRICAL BRANDING Design / Strategy market, the "instinctually" founded process is pebbled with uncertainty and the foibles of a largely intuitive and...

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN | Archetypes in storytelling, repetitive patterning in the mythic dimension The question and the quest for the lineage of story patterning. (in-theatre screen, street and subway shots / girvin) There is a story, in a story, in a story --...

Stanley Kubrick + Douglas Trumbull > Monoliths on Mars

Stanley Kubrick + Douglas Trumbull > Monoliths on Mars Seeing the imagery of a so-called "monolith" [alá 2001, A Space Odyssey from NASA on Space.com reminded me of a string of experiences -- working in Hollywood. During the development of a theatrical advertising...

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. THAT HISTORY IS QUIET, MODEST AND LADEN WITH LEARNING. ISN'T IT SO, THAT THE MOST...

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. To tell anything, there has to be another -- the listener. And...

Strategies of Innovation | Cinematic Production Design

Working the World: Innovations and Revelations, the Future Reclaimed I N N O V A T I O N  C H A N N E L S Working in varying parts of the world, depending on the culture,  your relationships there invariably offer to show you the newest and the coolest in town. Being...

The Adventures of Tintin | Logo Development

Exploring the legacy of a typographic design, embedded in the minds of millions. The above image, from Tintin, 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...

THE LOGO FOR THE MOVIE THOR

Palaeography, design, historical context and the imagination Theatrical identity design 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...

Filmic Mythology: Brand Storytelling + Cinema

Focus Features The folkloric intuition, legendary dimensions of the lensed visualization There are cycles, repeating patterning, in the engagement of story and archetype, mystery and beauty. When I was in college, I corresponded with Joseph Campbell, the grand...

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. Brand identity is the nature of defining visually -- as a start -- then fully unfolding the layering of...

The Lost Sketchbooks of Guillermo Del Toro

Exploring the journal, the working process and the act of creative development Guillermo Del Toro | Pan's Labyrinth I've written and spoken publicly in the past about the concept of the journal -- the annotated sketchbook -- as a place of making ideas. These days, I...

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. Cars contain far more than conventional brands, they are emotive in the context of containment. They exemplify a sense...

Oakley | Thermonuclear brand marketing

Image © Warner Brothers Cinematic brand alignments, at the end of the world. I've worn Oakley glasses for a long time. In fact, at the last adventure, I lost my last pair -- which have probably been around the world at least twice. To the end of considering brand...

Letter Mist

The Character of the Alphabet and the Maze of Knowing, the Real and Uncertain. What's real, anyway? And -- to the question of "any way, which?" what is the right "reading"? There's a mystery in the alphabet -- one, ages old and powerful -- and one that relates to the...

The World of Tomorrow: Brand Design and Motion Picture Identity

Sky Captain, Hugh Ferriss, Raymond Loewy, Norman Bel Geddes and the implications of design in entertainment Over time, I've had the chance to link with, and work for, extraordinary talent. It's a blessing. And it's a gift of the work -- as a designer, working as a...

Identity design, film and Sherlock Holmes

The sense of time in brand: chronology, palaeography and theatrical accuracy. There are a grouping of writers that explore the concepts of typographic design and motion pictures. I'm one. While the notion of typographic precision, in design, is some what of a targeted...

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. A number of years, back, I had the opportunity to work with James Cameron and his marketing team on the conception of the Abyss. That being, in particular,...

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. Tim Burton, MoMa, what a nice idea. As a designer for Tim Burton, I will offer that I never had the chance to meet him, work with...

2012: The End of the World (in a couple of years)

What's the connection to the notion of world-ending sagas? Why? I'd venture that there's a fascination with the idea of the end of the world -- people are attracted to it -- and the question might be: why? Why would the world end -- and what would it be like? And what...

Movie titling design: the craft of the hand

Customized type face design, font development and motion picture design Over the course of the last 3 decades, Girvin has designed literally hundreds of identity design strategies with hand-drawn typefaces for motion picture main titling design, one sheets, posters,...

Branding Anguish | The Human Brand Story of Frank McCourt

Examining brand design, storytelling and identity in literature and motion pictures Frank McCourt lived a life that few have journeyed. And he passed that life, last month, on the 19th. He's best known for his authorship of "Angela's Ashes" a telling of the travails...

Vampire Brands | True Blood: the emergence of the darker side.

Exploring the fashionability of the preternatural (brand) Lina Leandersson | "Let the Right One In" Magnet Releasing I've made some observations in the past, about the patterning of doom -- the idea that in the midst, or in the emergence of difficulty, there are other...

Cinematic production design and brand identity

Examining the concept of set design, visuals and production reflected in experience and branding: It took me a long time to determine whether this structure for the film Quantum of Solace was real, or a production design concept for the movie. As it was, the building...

The Soloist | What music means to you?

Studying the music, the mind, the meaning -- cinematic brand strategy and design. The mind of the soloist, the split mind in the brilliance of the schizophrenic -- how is the passion of melody, of harmony, newly sensed and seen? Last night, I was talking with Gerard...

The Star Trek Logo

J.J. Abrams and a return to the authentic identity of Star Trek Eventually, we all go back. In looking to the heart of the work, we turn again to that upon which our heart first opened. And for me, the exploration of my practice, the efforts of examining the nature of...

Film Branding | Luc Besson

"I did. I do what I do because I want to do it, because I want to explore, go looking for things." ~Luc Besson A directorial style, branded, explorations of cinéma du look. I met Luc Besson in Paris, a number of years back, when I was working in Paris. And it was in...

Movie titling sequences, stories and brand

The line between the story, the visualization, the brand. Story -- told. Story -- visualized. There's a thread that runs between the original telling, and the next telling in story -- and the next, and the next, and the next. One person tells a story and so does...

Hotel for Dogs | Branding

Exploring the ideation of identity in theatrical advertising What is it about dogs? How is it, after thousands of years, we have this undeniable link with dogs? We immediately attach personality to them. We see something in dogs? And we see, perhaps, something of...

Valkyrie | Tom Cruise | Design

Motion picture design, identity and historical context: visual propaganda. I first met Mr. Cruise, working with him, and the Paramount Studio marketing leadership team -- with Jerry Bruckheimer -- for Top Gun. Then, after that, Days of Thunder, working more closely...

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. Nancy Goliger, EVP of Advertising, told me to check out his TV shows, "Lost" and "Alias". I watched all of them. And I became...

Branding Batman | The Dark Knight Advertising Campaign

Exploring brand in the context of experience design and impression: movie picture brand strategy. I've liked Christian Bale's impression of Bruce Wayne since the beginning; but I'm anticipating that Christopher Nolan drives a great deal of the visualizations of how...

Direct marketing and brand identity

As a developer of campaign theming, in direct marketing development, ranging from department stores to retail products, theatrical marketing to entertainment design, the soul of the direct marketing story can lie in the very heart of the conceptual visualization --...

Inspiration: the finding, the depth, the found

What did influence me? Practice for one, looking for another. I look, I find. I research, I uncover. I dig, I excavate. When I was in college, I did this one section, this one grouping of studies of the history of the letterform. What is that, anyway? Palaeography....

Beowulf: the movie

Beowulf What calls, from ancient halls, the spirit of that other distant world, far more than a thousand and five hundred years back in the balled skein of time? Beowulf! Palaeography, or the history of the written world has long been a strategic underpinning of what...

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. I'd propose that the notion of banning a film because of some ongoing promulgation by Tom Cruise, about his personal "spiritual" beliefs -- in any other...

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; Arabic, sifr; Medieval Latin, ciphra; the cipher, the...