Motion Pictures


Legends and legacies

We believe story is the heart of everything. Listening to stories is the way of the world. Seeing them, absorbing them, is one of the most powerful and beautiful evocations of human experience. GIRVIN has been working with the film industry, creating hand crafted and custom identities for motion pictures, since 1979. We listen to studios, producers, directors, and actors to evince extraordinary visualizations of cinema.

Behind the Scenes

World Build

We started the creative process with the alphabet—that vertical stream of text—to shape the world of The Matrix beginning with the basic building blocks of language. A letterform is a code that builds a world—we designed the coding as a veil, a dimensional layering which is inherent in The Matrix. We built it as an aggregate font that mixes alphabet, numeric, symbolic, and multilingual forms: messaging layered as a kind of palimpsest. From there, we built out an identity that tells the story of that world at a glance.

Behind the Scenes

Looking ahead

We were commissioned by Paramount to develop styling and visual strategy for the Beowulf brand identity, a film directed by Robert Zemeckis. After leading an opening brainstorming exploration with studio executives and representatives from Zemeckis’ production team in the Paramount Studio offices, we built out the visualization of the theatrical advertisements nearly two years before the film was released. In terms of marketing and planning, it was anticipated that the logotype would be launching the film’s promotional efforts.


Character study

The brand identity for a motion picture must embody the character of the entire story experience. If we are designing for action, science fiction, or horror, an expectation of “illustration” and a sense of the dramatic is needed to capture a certain edge in the film’s thematic visualization. Films that speak of a certain time period or historical context frequently require paleographic relevance. We research systems of writing and graphic representation from historical periods to convey the sensibility of time and place.

In order to achieve the illustrative, dramatic, or historic character of a film, we frequently hand craft many of our identities. We use a variety of tools to accomplish this creativity: ancient writing implements, hand-made paper, ink and hand-ground pigments, as well as conventional writing tools.