Catch your audience’s attention before your story even starts. Here are a few tips for creating epic Hollywood-style movie titles.

If you want to create Hollywood-style movie titles that really stand out, you’re going to need to do more than use your NLE’s built-in presets. Creating pro titles, like those found here on RocketStock, takes time. Here are a few tips for creating epic Hollywood-style movie titles.

1. Pick the Right Font

How to Craft Epic Hollywood Movie Titles: Pick the right font.

The main issue most indie motion designers face: not choosing the right font when they sit down to create movie titles. While you never want to oversimplify the design process, picking the right font can be the difference between a good title and a bad one. Fonts with crazy textures or swirls should be avoided, as they tend to look bad on screen.

The best way to go: pair a thin sans-serif font with a bold sans-serif font. The fonts don’t necessarily have to be from the same typeface, but they should pair well together. The majority of major Hollywood films use this technique for creating their movie titles. In general, you’ll want to turn down the kerning (spacing between letters) for your bold font and increase the kerning for your smaller font.

How to Craft Epic Hollywood Movie Titles: Secondary and primary text

Picking the right font can be surprisingly difficult. Even the simplest font can convey different emotions to different viewers, so it’s important to find a good sans-serif font that doesn’t fight with the undertones in your film. Some of the fonts I typically look to when working on movie titles are Bebas Neue, Code, and Liberator. For the smaller font, a standard sans-serif font is all you need. Thin versions of Lato, Avenir, and even Helvetica Neue are great choices for secondary text.

It’s a good idea to keep your cinematic text in all caps unless your specific project calls for it. In general, lower-case text can look distracting in a bold movie title.

2. Keep It Simple

How to Craft Epic Hollywood Movie Titles: keep it simple

It can be easy for a designer to overthink the process of creating the title and get lost in the details. At the end of the day, when you’re working with movie titles, less is more. If you really look at Hollywood-level titles from the last few years, most are not overly complicated. In fact, many are just a series of sans-serif fonts with some light stylization.

3. Minimize Colors

How to Craft Epic Hollywood Movie Titles: minimize colors

Take a good look at your favorite movie titles and you’re likely going to see a mixture of solid white text with a desaturated secondary color. When you’re creating titles, keep the crazy colors to a minimum. Generally, flashy over-the-top movie titles can come across as unprofessional.

4. Customize the Kerning

How to Craft Epic Hollywood Movie Titles: customize the kerning

By default, typefaces have a designated amount of distance between each character. While these distances may work for tools like Microsoft Word, they absolutely will not work for professional title design. So before you finish any project, go in and adjust the spacing between characters by hand. An evenly spaced title will look much better in the eyes of your viewer.

5. Gradients and Textures Add Visual Interest

How to Craft Epic Hollywood Movie Titles: gradients and textures

A gradient or texture is a great way to add visual interest to your text without making the design too over the top. For gradients, you don’t want to go from completely white to completely black. Instead, stick to two similar colors that are only slightly different. This will make your text interesting and not too distracting. Textures should be treated in the same way. Don’t just throw a blending mode on your texture and call it a day. Bring down the opacity so the texture is visible — but not too much. Just remember: having fewer visual distractions is usually better.

6. Add in One ‘Next-Level’ Element

How to Craft Epic Hollywood Movie Titles: additional elements

Most good titles from Hollywood have one thing in common: they all take their simple design one step further. When working on your cinematic titles, think of ways in which you can take your design one step further. This can mean adding a lens flare, a glow, or a cool 3D effect. Whatever your next-level element may be, think about how it tells the story you’re trying to convey. Metallic 3D text might not make much sense for a romantic comedy.

How to Create Cinematic Titles

Created By: Mikey Borup

In this video tutorial from Mikey Borup, we learn how to create generic movie titles in After Effects. This tutorial follows all of the same techniques outlined in this article.

Want to learn more about creating epic titles? Check out our 9 Quick and Easy Title Hacks for Videos post.