Across 2020, the Hoodzpah team worked on three movie title treatment projects for the incredible creative team at Disney and Pixar. Luca was one of those projects, a film that tells a fantastical coming-of-age story of a sea monster finding his place in an Italian seaside village. We were shown concept art from the animation department and moodboards filled with typography inspired by Gelato shops, travel brochures, and hand painted signage from the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. Our brief was to create custom type solutions for the movie that would embody the sun-drenched village, a somewhat undefined retro nostalgia, and Luca’s identity as a sea-monster trying to find his place between shore and sea.
— Custom Type and Lettering
— Title Treatment Exploration
Director of Creative Advertising, Walt Disney Motion Pictures Studios
Jess Linares Flores,
Creative Marketing: Animation & Disney+
Creative Print Marketing, Walt Disney Studios
For Luca we again worked with Kari Miller, Jess Linares Flores, and Michaela Mucha at Disney and Pixar. They walked us through Luca’s story and character art, helped us understand the mood and world he inhabited, and then asked us to try and allude to that story through four simple letters: L-U-C-A. The team was excited to try and embody some of Luca’s sea-monster form (fins and tail) into the custom type. They also wanted to see if we could channel the style of the Italian Riviera where Luca takes place: sea, water, sun, Italian tile motifs, retro slab serifs and slightly playful scripts. The mood we were aiming for was: playful, fun, and possibly a tad retro.
As with character concepting, title treatment design at Disney is an iterative collaborative process involving many creatives. We collaborated with the team to propose these ideas that suited the brief. While many of these made it to final stages of the process, in the end a different final design was used to promote and market the film. Either way, to be a part of such an incredible creative world was inspiring to say the least.
Caught Between Land and Sea: many of the concepts show the line between above and below-water to show Luca’s struggle to find where he belongs in the world.
Early and Mid Century Italian Type: many of our concepts feel like they could be pulled from an Italian paperback from the 40s, or a Gelato shop sign in a small seaside village.
Story Elements: Sea monster fins and tails, Italian village motifs, the ocean, water.
In the end, none of our concepts ended up being chosen for the final title treatment, but we were honored to get to collaborate with Disney on the process that led to the final.
Watch the trailer for Luca here.
Neri Rivas, VP Creative Advertising, Walt Disney Studios, for referring us.
All images and stills from Luca are the copyright of Disney and Pixar