‘A Spy Among Friends’

Film & Motion Graphics

Title sequence for the ITV limited series inspired by the true story of Kim Philby, the Cold War’s most infamous spy.

Based on the bestselling novel by Ben Macintyre, “A Spy Among Friends” is a new limited series that dramatizes the true story of the two spies and lifelong friends Nicholas Elliott (played by Damian Lewis) and the infamous Kim Philby (Guy Pearce), one of whom was betraying the other all along at the height of the Cold War.

Pentagram partner Matt Willey and team have created the title sequence for the six-episode series, which was produced by ITV Studios in collaboration with Sony Pictures Television and premiered in December 2022 on the new streaming service ITVX in the UK. (The show will run in the US on MGM+, the soon-to-be rebranded Epix, in 2023.)

The title sequence is rooted in the analog tactility of ephemera from the Cold War period, which is central to the show’s plot. Using film photography from the set, scans of government documents, and other materials, the designers created a series of handmade collages that reflected the show’s themes of espionage, dual-identity, friendship and betrayal. 

These collages were then activated through an animation style that subtly nods to slide-projection and microfiche, shifting from frame to frame through pans and subtle zooms that allow the viewer to feel like they’re examining evidence laid out before them. The typeface, named Microscopic, was designed by Henrik Kubel at A-2 Type.

Film & Motion Graphics
New York
Matt Willey
Project team
Chantal Jahchan
Nick Marabella
Shira Inbar, animation
Henrik Kubel / A2-TYPE, custom typeface design
Dustin O'Halloran, music
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