In the first titles of James Gunn’s new The Suicide Squad spin off Peacemaker which debuted on HBO Max last month, John Cena’s character performs a jaw-dropping dance number with his co-stars, colorfully setting the stage for the epic and the unexpected.
The title sequence, another creation from the creatives and producers at one-stop multimedia production company Sarofsky, immediately went viral when HBO posted the dance number on Facebook, currently with over 6 million views.
Led by the Executive Creative Director Erin Sarofskycreative manager Duarte Elvasand General Manager/Executive Producer Steven AndersonSarofsky also created custom titles, typography, and visual effects for The Suicide Squadand for both guardians of the galaxy volumes.
Referring to the illustrious director who has become such a frequent collaborator, Sarofsky explained“We love collaborating with James. He’s so unique and has real vision…and we feel lucky to be on the same creative page with him so often. There’s a trust and shortcut built at this point, that we do not take for granted.
For the highly acclaimed Max Original series exploring the origins of a conceited man bent on peace at all costs, Gunn devised and filmed a choreographed dance routine with the entire cast, set to the glam metal track “Do You Wanna Taste It” by the Norwegian group Wig Wam. With the music as their inspiration, the designers focused on a typographic treatment to nail the series’ badass aesthetic.
“Duarte was an All-Star on that,” confirmed Sarofsky. “He has to be very practical, and it shows in the precision and mastery of the type.”
Sarofsky’s online case study details their Peacemaker contributions to design, starting with typography. According to their account, a deep dive into glam metal logos and concert posters proved instrumental in many ways.
“Many of these typefaces, while visually stunning, are almost unreadable”, Elvas said. “As title designers, readability is key. When we discovered New Zelek, we were able to compose it to do the job perfectly! It has the angular, geometric feel we were looking for, and the letterforms are clear and familiar enough to read the words effortlessly.
“We also created a really cool treatment with a glow contour,” Sarofsky added. “This look has been thoroughly explored to match set design and genre, and increase readability. Everything feels so intentional and just as it should be, and that’s because of the hours spent making it that way.
To complement the bold statements made by New Zelek in neon, Josefin Sans is used in white for all secondary typography. Also of note, discerning viewers will notice several moments in the dance sequence where the designers introduced subtle interactions between the dancers and the type.
As with Gunn’s other superhero action features, Sarofsky again created custom title cards. For Peacemakerthis includes “previously activated” and episode title cards for use throughout the season.
Designing and defining type with Adobe Illustrator, After Effects is Sarofsky’s primary tool for appearance development, layouts and animation. For Peacemaker main titles, Sarofsky handled composition, visual effects, and final composition. Studio credits for Peacemaker also include producer Dylan Ptak and designer Chris Rodriguez.
“For this project, we developed alternate approaches that we loved, which didn’t make the finale,” Anderson concluded. “It’s yet another time we wish they could have used it all.”
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