Man & Gun And Les Bleus de Ramville Win SXSW Film Design Awards

Originally South by Southwest – a riff on Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest – was only a music festival, first organised in 1987. Seven years later SXSW expanded by adding the SXSW Film and Multimedia Conference, and in 1995 those were split into two components – SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive. Just like most film festivals SXSW has its own SXSW Film Awards, focusing on new directing talent. This annual event honours the creativity and talent demonstrated by film makers and designers in the SXSW program. The awards comprise a balance of Audience and Jury selected winners, including SXSW Film Design Awards for Excellence in Poster and Title Design. As these two disciplines in design are regularly covered on The FontFeed, I visited the poster gallery at the entrance of the Vimeo Theatre in the Austin Convention Centre and attended the screening of the nominees for Excellence in Title Design.

Excellence in Poster Design

In 2009, AIGA board member David Horridge and SXSW teamed up to launch the SXSW Film/AIGA Austin Award for Excellence in Movie Poster Design. Following its success, it became a permanent component of the SXSW Film Awards. The gallery for this year’s fourth edition consisted of over 100 posters, ranging from mainstream over arthouse and designer-y to amateurish-looking work, all from films being screened at SXSW Film 2012. The quality was somewhat uneven, but there were more than enough excellent designs in the selection – and only two of them featured Trajan. ; ) Below are the winners.

Winner | Man & Gun
Designer | Justin Cox
Main typeface | Alternate Gothic

Special Jury Recognition | Pitch Black Heist
Designer | Andrew Cranston
Main typeface | Helvetica

Audience Award Winner | The Maker
Designer | Christopher Kezelos
Main type | Hand drawn lettering
Secondary typeface | Similar to Amazone, but not quite

Excellence In Title Design

Following the success of 2009’s SXSW Film/AIGA Austin Film Poster Award, SXSW established the annual SXSW Film Design Awards, and added the Excellence in Title Design Award in 2010 as a special contest to discover the best in contemporary Title Sequence design. Eligibility for the Title Sequence Design Competition is open to any film or television title sequence completed that year. The title sequence can stand alone, and does not have to be related to a feature or short film submitted to the festival.


A Brief History of Title Design, the presentation video for the 2011 SXSW Excellence in Title Design competition screening, from Ian Albinson on Vimeo.

The screening was preceded by a panel with the jurors MK12’s Ben Radatz, Kurt Volk a.k.a. Troublemaker Studios, and Gareth Smith & Jenny Lee of Smith & Lee Design, moderated by co-juror Ian Albinson, founder of the slightly fabulous The Art of The Title. After showing a highlight reel of the jurors’ work assembled by Albinson, an insightful 40-minute informal conversation touched upon topics like the design process, designer/director relationships, and some of the legal limitations encountered when designing title sequences. Finally each jury member showed his/her favourite amongst their own projects.

After the panel the entries were screened. Submissions were up: 20 title sequences this year against 17 last year and 18 in 2010. The entries were very varied and their quality astounding. Being immersed in these mini-movies marrying image with kinetic typography was a highly enjoyable experience. Below is the complete list; wherever available I linked to an online entry covering the sequence.


Les Bleus De Ramville | Opening Titles Sequence from Jay Bond on Vimeo.

Winner | Les Bleus de Ramville
Designer | Jay Bond, Oily Film Company Inc.

Special Jury Recognition | X-Men: First Class
Designer | Simon Clowes, Prologue Films


Bunraku | Opening Titles Sequence from Hornet Inc. on Vimeo.

Audience Award Winner | Bunraku
Designer | Guilherme Marcondes, Hornet Inc.

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