In the latest collaboration between Saturday Night Live and Pentagram, Emily Oberman has designed the show’s new opening sequence, a playful portrait of the cast and the city. The typographic approach was inspired by the use of typography in French New Wave cinema – specifically the work of Jean-Luc Godard, and his films Une Femme est Une Femme and Bande à Parte – centered, justified, unconventional, vernacular lettering, layered over portraits of the SNL cast. Set in Baton, designed by Fatype, the names of each cast member flicker with colour, and as suggested in a statement on the design approach, “evoke the jewel-toned lights of the city, for a bit of extra razzle-dazzle”.
Further graphic elements are integrated into the architecture of the city, conveying the nature of New York as key character, highlighting its energy and aforementioned “razzle-dazzle”. These jiggling squiggles and scribbles reference another New Wave, that of New York. In its time it was generally known as the No Wave scene, formed largely out of the gathering of musicians, directors and artists at Diego Cortez’s Mudd Club; with the likes of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Nan Goldin, John Lurie and Lydia Lunch as Mudd Club regulars. In 1981, Diego Cortez curated a group exhibition, New York/New Wave, at P.S.1 (now MoMA PS1), which transformed the space into a portrait of the underground art and post-punk scene in New York, as well as the chaos of the city. Emily Oberman’s SNL opening sequence similarly highlights the interplay between a city and the people who make it.
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