Designing TV titles for the streaming age

As TV and streaming services fight for viewers in an ever-more competitive landscape, design matters. Here, we look at the role of opening sequences in the era of the ‘skip intro’ button, and examine their role in hooking in viewers

The last few years have been a boom time for title sequence design, as broadcasters and streaming services have competed for audiences’ attention and loyalty. As shows like Game of Thrones and Stranger Things have shown, the opening credits can become a key part of the experience.

“It’s about whetting the appetite, and teasing and giving a sense of the mood of the show,” says Paul Mitchell, a director at Los Angeles studio Elastic, which received four Emmy nominations for title sequences this year. “It brings you in and sparks your curiosity. Once your eyeballs are on the screen, it’s our job to draw you in and bring you into the story.”

Elastic has worked with companies including Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV+ and HBO, on shows that range from Watchmen and Game of Thrones to The Morning Show and His Dark Materials. According to the studio’s senior executive producer, Luke Colson, it’s a competitive part of the design world, with title sequences still considered “coveted” projects.