With so many shows to choose from, why would I choose yours?

Of course, you could pitch your show to me by cutting together a pithy little teaser to catch my attention – but, as a warning, my attention is flighty at best. If a fly buzzes by, I’m gone. So sorry. You’re going to have to be faster than that if you want to make an impact. In fact, kudos to you for making it this far into the article – many people are probably chasing that fly already. So, how do you overcome the perils of our average 8.25 second attention span? Well, here’s the short answer: Opening Title Animations.

The majority of us are visual learners. We like graphics; we love them, and here at Radical Point Media we live them.   Every opening title or logo that we see communicates so much more to us than just the words and imagery on the screen. By carefully designing a title graphic that reflects the essence of your show, you can make a strong “pitch” to your audience and pull them in before that fly even has a chance to buzz.

Just ask Robert Wimbish of Marcus Entertainment, who said,

“…having imagery and visuals at the top of a series that says ‘Hey, check this out’ – this show is going to be different, cool, or impactful based solely on the graphic image, are extremely important in establishing the series’ brand and tone. This enables you to hook the audience right away and extend their willingness to continue to engage with the content.”

Take, for example, the somewhat simple logo for HGTV’s mega-hit show Property Brothers. Many home renovation shows have a house icon built into the logo somewhere – it’s sort of the go-to for the home design and home reno genre. But, this logo is more subtle: you see the word “Property” over a big block with the word “Brothers” inside of it. Already, the logo establishes that this show is not just about properties, but properties built on top of a strong foundation  – the relationship between the two brothers, who are, quite literally, elevating the houses. Clever.

HGTV’s other smash hit, Home Town is another great example of the power of subtle design; the font; the color palette; the imperfect edges, all work perfectly. Even if the words were gibberish, and read: “Glorbenmux”, you’d still know that the show is about hand-made country designs, simply from the iconography.

Okay, so, subtle title logos are cool and are hugely important when it comes to first impressions, but, what about something bigger? Bolder? More bodacious?

I’d love to draw your attention, if I may, to the opening titles Radical Point Media designed for the Science Channels’ docu-series, Secret Nazi Bases. It’s epic. Created completely in CGI, it opens with the camera moving through a dimly lit warehouse filled with mysterious artifacts – oh my, what are those? – all against the backdrop of vintage archival footage from WWII. Before we can piece together a full view of the warehouse, two huge metal doors slam closed, shutting us out. As the doors lock, the title, in thick stone letters, comes crashing onto the screen. It’s intriguing, creating a sense of mystery, exclusivity and urgency. Most importantly, however, it tells a story– there are precious secrets behind this door and this show is about to unlock them for you – so stay tuned!

Now, you don’t have to go full CGI to be epic.

Sometimes, a show calls for a mix of mediums. Just take a look at the opening title animation for HGTV’s property show, Buy It or Build It, which centers around two self-made brothers helping people find their perfect property in Dallas, TX. Originally, RPM was tasked with creating a simple show logo. The animated reveal was to be a maximum of five seconds, thus saving precious show time. However, once we saw some early footage, we were inspired by the brothers’ story and saw an opportunity to showcase their journey to the big (little) screen.

We felt this condensed life story would grab viewers’ interest and emotionally hook them into the show. We convinced the network execs this would be time well spent, and that five second logo reveal turned into a twenty second opening title sequence animation. Utilizing both 3D and 2D tools, we told the brothers’ story in a captivating and fun vintage, pop-up book style, which not only introduced the audience to the brothers quickly, but also cemented the show aesthetically, thematically, and unified the graphics – can you say brand recognition?

The moral of this story is that there are many ways to approach the opening title for your show.

Whether you’re looking for a big, bombastic opening animation, or a simple show logo, it should be able to capture the essence of your series and quickly stamp it into the minds of your audience to keep them coming back. In other words: it should be able to swat a fly.