I just got around to watching the 5th season premier of True Blood, one of my ultimate faves. I started the books last year--total guilty pleasure, because they're nothing like the HBO series, I listen to books while I paint and Johanna Parker's voice is perf so sue me--enough self defense. Anyway, I know it's about 5 years late, but I've always admired the custom type they use in the title sequence. I've written before
about my love for "hand-built" (I like that better than hand-written) type.
Mimicking is one of the primary ways of learning, and I always obsessed about copying things when I was young: first the Looney Tunes cartoons (don't worry I submitted a tall stack to my 1st grade art teacher before the school year began so she knew I wasn't there to dick around), then the Archie Comics, then Spider-Man, then holy shit Space Jam, illustrations in magazines (does anyone remember GIRL magazine?), then onto fine art and carrying around Drawing the Head & Figure by Jack Hamm and his naked wife and drawing naked women constantly (one of the many reasons I've given my parents to question my heterosexuality), and also trying to replicate common typefaces. See, I'm not a doodler, I never have been able to understand how people "doodle" casually. Maybe I'm not creative or free enough? It's very likely. So when I see an unfamiliar typeface I automatically try to dissect and replicate it. I like type so much because it has a method, but that method is unique to each set of type. There are literally rules upon rules within type sets, and the challenge of recognizing, interpreting, and adhering to those on my own is fun for me. If people enjoy Sudoku I can enjoy this. But I'll never perfectly emulate most of it, because I'll never be a press or a computer no matter how much I empathize with robots.
Camm Rowland is the hirsute stud behind the True Blade and True Gothic typefaces that come together for the title graphics. I mean, you can google this guy and find stuff other people have said, or you can go to his site which is literally just this
? Draw your own conclusions. I interpreted the style as something derived from the kind of hand-made signage you see in rural spots that is usually found outside tiny businesses and I always think of the owner's brother or someone painstakingly drawing out their sign. It's so unique because it seems to me like it takes a drawing from an adult that doesn't draw, or at least not professionally, and makes it necessary, important, public, and permanent. Doing my homework I read that Rowland did base True Blade/Gothic off of amateur roadside signage.
In addition to the text, the imagery in the opening sequence is magical, creepy, gross, cozy, familiar, ordinary, sexy, dark, earnest, spiritual, cynical etc. All adjectives that fall under the Southern Gothic genre. It's so nuanced, for example: aren't the glow sticks brilliant? I don't know how much of this was deliberate and how much was just observed and documented because this is a pretty stone-cold pack of genius Yankee nerds that made it. And I appreciate it that they never leaned on New Orleans-y "things" to explain the cultural identity of northern Louisiana, because they don't transfer. The piece is filmed in a zillion different formats, and until I watched the making-of clip I presumed they used archival footage in the mix. Also the choice to resist using high-falootin' techno wizardry is timeless. The team behind it, Rama Allen, Matt Mulder, Shawn Fedorchuk, and Camm Rowland, also did the opening sequences for Six Feet Under and Dexter, which are also wonderful. Total duh.
Sometimes when I'm waitressing I pretend I'm Sookie Stackhouse. Don't judge. It helps me get by.