Marvel Blockbuster ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Showcases Visual Artistry from Sarofsky

Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is the final installment in the film series’ blockbuster trilogy. Written and directed by James Gunn, and featuring an ensemble cast including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Will Poulter, Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji, Linda Cardellini, Nathan Fillion, and Sylvester Stallone, like the previous two installments and the recent Holiday Special, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” also features key visual contributions from one-stop cross-media production company Sarofsky. 

The Sarofsky team has been lending their talents to the “Guardians of the Galaxy” title sequence design since the first film released in 2014. The results infuse each film’s main title sequence with an animated, custom-designed typeface, bold treatments for the Guardians of the Galaxy logo, and typography for the film’s locator cards. Beginning with the second film, Sarofsky also pioneered the design for what was then a new dimension of the Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe: the must-see “storytelling” end crawl.

Let’s take a look at the work from Sarofsky for the latest Marvel blockbuster…

Director James Gunn worked closely with the team on his vision for the film’s opening. “James let us know that he envisioned weaving the opening credits into this amazing, song-driven opening sequence, that is much more contemplative compared with the other films’ openings,” Executive Creative Director Erin Sarofsky explained. “Right out of the gate, it was a fun challenge for us to evolve our work in a beautiful way that completely sets the mood for the story to come.” 

“We came away understanding that James was looking for something softer and more introspective, with treatments that felt ‘indie’ and leaned a little bit into the 90s,” Creative Lead Duarte Elvas added. 

Additionally, Gunn wanted the titles to blow on and off the screen as lightly as a feather would, and Sarofsky’s custom typeface originated for the first Guardians film also needed to evolve.

The new typeface is based on the original and Zekton. Elvas describes it like so: “While still feeling very familiar, with the same ligatures and pointy terminals, this typeface has rounded corners and feels much softer and lighter. We used this typeface for the opening credits and also for the various locators throughout the film.”

Here are some additional screen captures from the movie…

For the film’s title card, Sarofsky also created an updated version of the Guardians of the Galaxy logo. Choosing a 2D treatment, its letterforms are fragmented and missing pieces… symbolizing the broken nature of the film’s characters, while adding to the typography’s stylized approach.

The final aspect of Sarofsky’s design efforts focused on the storytelling end crawl, where once again, Gunn kept adding hand-picked elements. These nestled images leading into Marvel Studios’ famous post credits scenes draw from numerous sources. 

“The stills James sent us came from all the previous films featuring the Guardians: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and 2, the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: End Game,” Elvas continued. “A scrapbook treatment allowed us to strategically place the stills around the blocks of text that were typeset by Exceptional Minds.” 

Collaborating very closely with the editorial department on timing and animation, Sarofsky followed the color workflow and specific delivery specs required by the VFX department and Company 3, using Adobe After Effects with OpenColorIO to manage the specified color spaces and LUTs.

“In this case, our graphics appear at different emotional moments in the film, providing an elemental visual system that ties them all together while still matching the mood,” Sarofsky observed. 

“We are so grateful to James and the team at Marvel for allowing us to create visuals for this monumental franchise,” said Sarofsky’s Managing Director/Executive Producer Steven Anderson. “It’s a rare opportunity to work on one of these films, so to take a step back and see what we have contributed across the board is a real bucket list moment for everyone at our studio.”

Sarofsky’s project credits also include Producer Dylan Ptak, main title designer/animators Gerard Sierra, Davis Cameron Chu, and Travis Hawthorne, and end crawl designers Tony Agliata, Sara Kopke, Matthew Nowak, Nik Braatz, Mollie Davis, and Lirio Ramirez.

To learn more about this project and Sarofsky, please visit sarofsky.com.

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