Top 10 Opening Title Sequence Styles for TV and Film

A list of the most inspiring and recognizable styles for video openers (and After Effects templates to match).

Clockwise from top left: Westworld, Game of Thrones, It’s a Mad Mad World, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Indiana Jones.

Opening sequence titles set the tone for the rest of your video.

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. 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.

Get the look with this ink and water-inspired template, INK; this hazy Smoke Opener; or these muted Elegant Opening Titles.

Stills from INK (left) and Smoke Opener (right).

2. Medieval-inspired

The gold standard for this is the iconic intro scene from Game of Thrones, which captivated over 10 million viewers last season.

Make your own Westeros-inspired intro with this Ancient Battlefield Element 3D intro; this Black and Gold Logo; or this rocky Dark Logo Reveal. You might also need an epic, medieval-inspired soundtrack, text effects, or a vintage book design.

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:

For a more pop-art style, check out Comic Action – The Beginning or Comics.

Stills from the Comic Action – The Beginning opening sequence 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:

Pictured above:

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 Dynamic Glitch Opener (above) or Epic Modern Glitch Opener are both edgy and eye-catching, while the Residual Effects – Movie Opening Titles has a darker, more dramatic vibe.

6. Adventurous

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.

Get the look with GlitchThe Opener, or Bright Summer Opener.

Stills from Bright Summer Opener (left) and Glitch (right).

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.

Stills from Noir Detective.

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 Envato 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
Adventure Pack
Bright Summer Opener
Vintage Film Opener
Noir Detective
The Mind Action Titles

Music: Cinematic Movie Trailer Intro / Opener.

Brittany Jezouit

About the Author Brittany Jezouit

Brittany is a Contributor to the Envato blog. She helped launch the publication and was its founding Editor. You can follow her on Twitter @brittanyjezouit.