Talk about a “full circle” moment.
In 1993 Garson Yu, Founder/Creative Director of the award-winning 20-year-old company yU+co, was a young designer with the then leading design studio R/GA LA working on his first title sequence design project for the film The Joy Luck Club, the first Hollywood film with an all Asian cast.
Flash forward 25 years to 2018 and the release of Crazy Rich Asians, the first Hollywood film since The Joy Luck Club to feature an all-Asian cast, and once again the Hong Kong-born Yu handled the design of main-on-end title sequence.
“My involvement in this project as an Asian American is important and meaningful to me,” Yu says. “Joy Luck Club, directed by Wayne Wang, was my first title design project. I’m proud of the fact that 25 years later I’m working with another talented, new director John Chu on the main-on-end sequence for this incredible project. I’m equally proud of the fact that over the last 20 years we’ve built a creative studio that puts a high priority on diversity, and that mindset is a big reason why the company remains creatively vital and relevant to this day.”
For evidence of yU+co’s relevance in Hollywood look no further than the company’s spate of recent title design work on hit films like Tomb Raider (Warner Bros.), The Meg (Warner Bros.), the international hit Bleach (Warner Bros.), and Mile 22 (STX Entertainment).
“Crazy Rich Asians also continues our long-standing creative relationship with Warner Bros., a client that never ceases to challenge us with amazing films and filmmakers, as well as their deep-held belief in the important role title design plays in the overall cinematic experience,” Yu adds.
Yu noted that the final shot in the film is of a spectacular fireworks display, and both he and Chu wanted to carry the high-energy, celebratory feel into the main-on-end title sequence, while also staying true to the specific graphic design of the novel’s cover.
They achieved that through a dazzling kaleidoscope effect in which iconography from the film (beach umbrellas, diamonds, paper fans, mahjong tiles) cleverly dance around the credit in old-Hollywood, Busby Berkley choreographed fashion. Set to the instantly catchy song “Vote” by Miguel (produced by Mark Ronson of “Uptown Funk” fame), the end result is a colorful, art deco tinged burst of fun that will keep audiences engaged till the screen goes dark.
For yU+co Art Director Edwin Baker and Producer Sarah Coatts, working on the Crazy Rich Asians end title sequence proved creatively satisfying because rather than drive a particular narrative, it was all about creating an engaging graphic design.
“For this, we didn’t have to tell a story, just use 3D and 2D animation styles to create this elaborate cinematic dance,” Baker says. “The goal was to create something that harkened back to a certain feeling of old Hollywood glamour.”
Coatts notes that designing the transitions between the images in the sequence was a bit of a challenge. “Through a bit of trial and error, we came up with something fun, eye-grabbing and totally in sync with the spirit of the film,” Coatts says.
Client: Warner Bros
Project: “Crazy Rich Asians” main-on end title sequence
Production/Post: yU+co, Los Angeles, CA
Creative Director: Garson Yu
Executive Producer/SVP: Carol Wong
Producer: Sarah Coatts
Associate Producer: Nicholas DeSantis
Art Director: Edwin Baker
Designer/Typographer: Yuanchen Jiang
Designer: Grace Kang
Designer/Animator: Chris Lopez
Designer/Animator: Christina Liang
Designer/Animator: Sun Ah Kim
Designer/Animator: Tiber Ergur
Animator: Yuee Seo
Animator: Jason Lee
Animator: Axel Alvarez
Animator: Ian Ross
Animator: Denny Zimmerman
Editor: Sam Schlenker
Compositing Supervisor: Gregory Jones
IO Manager: Latoria Ortiz
Technology & Software Manager: Andrew Burnett