Alva Lundin (1889 – 1972) was a Swedish title card and credit designer and artist. Over the course of her 40-year career, Lundin contributed to nearly 500 films. She was regarded as a leader in title card design.
Born Alva Lindbohm in Kvillinge, Östergötland, Lundin began her career writing and illustrating title cards in Sweden in 1919. She was hired by Svensk Filmindustri to design typography and produce handwritten title cards for Mauritz Stiller’s Herr Arnes Pengar (Sir Arne’s Treasure). The following year, Stiller and SF asked her to provide more elaborate titles for Erotikon (1920). Lundin’s opening title cards and inter-titles featured elegant lettering with simple illustrations that were much admired because they were witty, playful, and enhanced the audience’s understanding of the scenes. She continued to work as a film title designer for SF, becoming one of the most prolific yet least well-known figures in Swedish film history. She helped to pioneer so-called "art titles" – title cards not only consisting of written text but decorative illustrations – in Swedish cinema. In 1924, an article in film magazine Filmnyheter described her as “the only [Swedish] film title specialist.”
During the 1940s, techniques in title design moved from graceful type on cardboard which was over-toned or rolled downwards into new ideas and forms. In Hasse Ekman’s Banketten (The Banquet) and in Ingmar Bergman’s Törst (Thirst), Lundin’s opening sequences feature typography superimposed over moving image. In Fröken Julie (Miss Julie), the title sequence creates a commentary for the film to come.
Lundin worked with virtually all the directors who were active in the area and was engaged by most of the studios operating at the time, including Nordisk Tonefilm, Sandrews, and Terrafilm. She was called the “Nestor of Swedish film calligraphers.” From 1916 to 1960, she created title sequences and inter-titles for nearly 500 feature films as well as several information and documentary films. Her impressive career includes such Swedish classics as Gustaf Molander’s En Stilla Flirt (A Little Flirt, 1934) and Intermezzo (1936), Gustaf Edgren’s Driver dagg, faller regn (Sunshine Follows Rain, 1946), Hasse Ekman’s Fram för lilla Märta (Put Little Märta First, 1945) and Flicka och hyacinter (Girl with Hyacinths, 1950), Arne Mattsson's Hon dansade en sommar (One Summer of Happiness, 1951) and Ingmar Bergman's Gycklarnas afton (Sawdust and Tinsel, 1953).
She worked with well-known Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, who was not in favour of traditional title sequences, only four times; though he also hired her to design nine commercial films for Bris brand soap in the early 1950s.
Lundin created her last title sequence in 1960 with the short film Nybyggarna i Faxälven (The Settlers in Faxälven), a documentary about the beaver population of the northern Swedish province of Ångermanland.
Learn more about Alva Lundin at the Women Film Pioneers Project.