Design Legends— Kyle Cooper Main Title Designer PT 1 (Braveheart, Se7en, Dawn of the Dead)

Meet living design legend and arguably the greatest main title designer of all time— Kyle Cooper, co-founder of Prologue Films and Imaginary Forces. He’s worked on title designs for movies like “Braveheart,” “Se7en,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Mission Impossible,” “Iron Man,” and many more.

Filmed live at the Futur studio in Los Angeles.


00:38 Kyle Cooper – Title Design Montage
01:52 Q: Is it strange for you to see your own work?
03:07 Why I work on main title design
04:20 Who was your mentor? What was it like studying under Paul Rand as a mentor?
09:12 Creating Contrast in the composition
09:40 I try to make every frame look beautiful
11:38 An idea is only as good as it’s execution
12:00 Main titles as riddles.
13:46 I always try to think about what the story is before I design.
16:09 The further we move away from the decision makers, the more designers become order takers.
19:48 Kyle discusses why he enjoys doing consultant work.
22:05 Contrast in regard to film-making
23:50 Who is the best typographer in history according to Paul Rand?
26:00 Balancing design execution and time / personal limits
28:04 How Chris got his start in motion design
34:07 How Chris met Kyle
36:15 Going past the sale: When the person knows what they want, stop at yes

About Kyle Cooper:

“Whatever your hand finds to do,  do it with all your might.” These words from Ecclesiastes 9:10,  oft quoted by Kyle Cooper,  embody the spirit that has made his film sequences iconic. Fittingly,  they apply to his most influential piece to date: the main titles for the film Se7en (1995),  where we watch a psychotic killer’s hands in the throes of creation. This maniacal sequence—every one-frame cut was considered—became a phenomenon,  bringing main titles to the attention of the public and inspiring countless designers to pursue the craft., By the time he worked on Se7en, Cooper was already a title-sequence veteran,  with more than 40 credits to his name. Today his reel includes many memorable titles in modern cinema: Spiderman,  Dawn of the Dead,  Mission: Impossible,  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Argo among them. As a designer and director,  his impact on popular culture extends to commercials (Nike and Chrysler),  broadcast opens (The Walking Dead and American Horror Story) and an Emmy award–winning sequence for The Academy Awards. As director Terrence Malick simply states, “Kyle is a great filmmaker.”, What Cooper succeeds in doing is elevating film with the power of graphic design.

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Key Takeaways

Mentors can help you understand what you are good at sometimes more than you can understand yourself.
Consultant work is a great space, because people value your opinion.

Media Drop

6 Chapters In Design
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Executive Producer– Chris Do
Host– Chris Do
Director– Aaron Szekely
Cinematography– Aaron Szekely, Mark Contreras
Editor– Mark Contreras
Futur Theme Music – Adam Sanborne
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