The best TV shows and films are well-known for their memorable, iconic openers; it’s even inspired award categories and Emmy nominations. Much like film genres themselves, we’ve noticed trends towards evolving styles of movie and TV opening sequences.
Top 10 opening title sequence styles for TV and film
Here’s a list of the top 10 most inspiring and recognizable styles for openers (and After Effects templates to match, so that you can steal the style for your own video productions!).
Skip to the end if you want to watch the top-10 roundup in video form.
1. Dramatic and hypnotic
We’re drawing inspiration from Patrick Clair here, the video producer behind the opening sequence of HBO’s Westworld and True Detective. Think slow, hypnotic, and almost surrealist-style imagery.
The gold standard for this is the iconic intro scene from Game of Thrones, which captivated over 10 million viewers last season.
3. From the pages of a comic book
Whether you’re more into the traditional, bright, retro-inspired comic designs or the more modern, edgy Captain America style, this look is easy to replicate for your own video. Here’s a short clip we put together to highlight the Civil War After Effects template:
4. Sci-fi and thriller
The right intro to a scary movie sequence can leave your audience afraid from the very beginning. I still remember the intro of American Horror Story Season 1 because of it’s super-creepy ‘baby dolls in the basement’ scenes, but also for the imaginative, well-designed typography.
Are you more of a classic, like The Shining, or modern, like American Horror Story? Here’s a few of my favorite creepy intros:
- Alien logo reveal
- The Virus – Opening titles
- Dark of the Moon trailer
- The Occult – Horror Story Opener
5. Abstract and glitchy
If you want to create a style that’s unique, but not necessarily tied to a specific theme or movie genre, the ‘glitchy’ style is on-trend and works with almost any imagery, from video, still images, or text.
The Indiana Jones intro scene is one of the most iconic in adventure films (though it’s not complete without the right music, of course).
Steal the style – maps, orange text, and all – with this Adventure Pack template.
7. Quirky and bright
Big, bold fonts and upbeat music match the quirky, eccentric style of TV shows like Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or NBC’s New Girl.
8. Vintage and old-timey
Perfect for a video set in the past, or to evoke a sense of nostalgia – like the 1946 Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life.
Try these templates for your own vintage video:
9. Retro noir
Okay, retro noir is a term we made up, but you get the idea: stylish, crime-drama inspired with a hint of throwback-era look.
This Noir Detective After Effects template is inspired by Saul Bass, the iconic graphic designer behind the title sequences of The Man with the Golden Arm, North By Northwest, Vertigo, Psycho, and more. Think kinetic text and bold lines.
10. Futuristic meets tech
Technology-focused and a little unsettling, we’re drawing inspiration from shows like Netflix’s Black Mirror for this dark, future-centered style.
This intro sequence, The Mind Action Titles, is compelling and to-the-point.
Watch all top 10 opening sequence styles:
Video created by SeaBeast on СodeHolder Studio.
After Effects templates featured in this video:
Vintage Film Countdown Clock
Ancient Battlefield Element 3D
Comic Action – The Beginning
The Virus – Opening Titles
Residual Effects – Movie Opening Titles
Bright Summer Opener
Vintage Film Opener
The Mind Action Titles