Archer is a critically acclaimed and award winning animated comedy on FX. As Lead Motion Graphics Designer on the show, I work in collaboration with the Art Director to interpret any and all motion graphics required in each episode, including the title sequence and end credit design. These are revamped each season to match the style and aesthetic of the Archer’s ever changing theme and direction.
After we returned to the original titles for season six, following the Archer: Vice switch up, I’m sure only the most eagle-eyed viewer noticed that they weren’t the original titles at all, but a meticulous remake.
So why did we do that? The original title sequence was only intended to be a placeholder for the pilot episode, hastily constructed by Art Director Neal Holman in a grueling week long After Effects session just in time for FX’s submission deadline. After the show was picked up, Neal never found the time to go back and fix what he calls his “sloppy mistakes”, so it stayed untouched for four seasons.
Rather than go back and patch up the existing sequence, I felt the most prudent path would be a complete do-over, before we even began the Vice treatment. My reasoning was to have something future proof, laying a solid foundation for re-skins and further modifications in the future. We had no idea how long Vice would run for, but I was wagering at some point the show would return to its origins and need the original titles again — which it did for season six.
Neal and the producers were on board, leaping at the opportunity to address a laundry list of small notes we’d all gathered over the years and tackle some bigger ones too — such as replacing all the artwork and redoing the character Animation with the latest body rigs. It was no small task. Once we had solid ground to work on, it became almost trivial to re-skin it year in and year out.
The story behind the title sequence and it’s changes over the years is featured on Art Of The Title.