LOS ANGELES — In 1993 Garson Yu, founder/creative director of Yu+co (yuco.com), was a young designer with design studio R/GA LA, working on his first title sequence for the film The Joy Luck Club. The film marked the first Hollywood feature with an all-Asian cast. Flash forward 25 years to 2018 and the release of
Crazy Rich Asians, the first Hollywood film since to feature an all-Asian cast. Once again the Hong Kong-born Yu handled the design of the main-on-end title sequence.
The new film is based on the best-selling 2013 novel by Asian writer Kevin Kwan and was directed by John Chu. It tells the story of a wealthy Asian family and the lack of acceptance their son faces when he returns to Singapore to introduce his new American fiance. Crazy Rich Asians also continues the studio’s long-standing creative relationship with Warner Bros.
According to Yu, both he and Chu wanted to carry over the film’s final shot of a spectacular fireworks display 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 catchy song “Vote” by Miguel, the end result is a colorful, art deco tinged burst of fun that keeps audiences engaged until 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 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.”