Melbourne-based studio Play on Play has carved out a reputation as the go-to for film titles with substance, finesse, and – as the name suggests – playful humour. Founders Naomi Akikusa-Dawber and Lucy Fry draw inspiration from shop windows and heavy metal album artwork; old horror novels and erotica; ghost signs and vernacular typography; as well as movies “from a time when the titles couldn’t rely on technology”.
Lucy and Naomi’s reference points are clear across their practice, but the work is far from derivative; imbued with an experimental energy and attention to detail that the film industry is more than in need of a taste of.
Taking the tropes of B-Movies and calendar girls, and putting them through a female and non-binary lens, Play on Play has worked on a variety of female-led projects; from films about volatile female friendships and a well-coiffed woman enjoying an exercise machine, to collaborations with initiatives including Women and Film and Girls in Film.
Of its practice, the studio tells us: “When it comes to approaching titles, the biggest inspirations are the films themselves. The opening sequence sets the tone for what’s in store, having titles and printed matter that represents the film in the most effective way is key. So far, we’ve been really lucky to work with clients who give us the opportunity to learn more about the potentials for the relationship between design and film.” And of their path into graphic design for film, Lucy and Naomi conclude: “Whether it’s all down to whimsical happenstance or part happy accident, who knows. But we love it!”
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