Remembering the Legendary Designer: Saul Bass

Saul Bass (May 8, 1920 – April 25, 1996) Was An American Graphic Designer And Academy Award Winning Filmmaker, Famous For His Design Of Motion Picture Title Sequences, Film Posters, And Corporate Logos. We Have Been Featuring The New And Known Designers So For A Change I Thought Of Bringing Back The Legendary Designer.

In His 40-year Career Bass Worked For Some Of Hollywood’s Most High-flying Filmmakers, Including Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick And Martin Scorsese. Among His Most Famous Title Sequences Are The Animated Paper Cut-out Of A Heroin Addict’s Arm For Preminger’s The Man With The Golden Arm, The Credits Racing Up And Down What Eventually Becomes A High-angle Shot Of A Skyscraper In Hitchcock’s North By Northwest, And The Rambling Text That Races Together And Apart In Psycho.

Bass Has Also Designed Some Of The Most Idealistic Corporate Logos In North America, Including The Bell System Logo In 1969, As Well As AT&T’s Globe Logo In 1983 After The Breakup Of The Bell System. He Also Designed Continental Airlines’ 1968 Jet Stream Logo And United Airlines’ 1974 Tulip Logo Which Became Some Of The Most Recognized Airline Industry Logos Of The Era.

Saul Bass Was Born On May 8, 1920, In The Bronx, New York, United States. He Graduated From James Monroe High School In The Bronx And Studied Part-time At The Art Students League In Manhattan Until Attending Night Classes With György Kepes At Brooklyn College. He Began His Time In Hollywood During The 1940s Doing Print Work For Film Ads, Until He Collaborated With Filmmaker Otto Preminger To Design A Film Poster For His 1954 Film Carmen Jones. Otto Preminger Was So Overwhelmed With Bass’s Work That He Asked Him To Produce The Title Sequence As Well. This Was When Bass First Saw The Prospect To Create A Title Sequence Which Would Eventually Improve The Familiarity Of The Audience And Throw In To The Disposition And The Subject Of The Movie Within The Opening Moments. Bass Was One Of The First To Comprehend The Creative Prospective Of The Opening And Closing Credits Of A Movie.

For Alfred Hitchcock, Bass Provided Successful, Unforgettable Title Sequences, Inventing A New Type Of Kinetic Typography, For North By Northwest (1959), Vertigo (1958), Working With John Whitney, And Psycho (1960). It Was This Kind Of Innovative, Revolutionary Works That Made Bass A Venerated Graphic Designer. Before The Advent Of Bass’s Title Sequences In The 1950s, Titles Were Generally Motionless, Split From The Movie, And It Was Common For Them To Be Projected Onto The Cinema Curtains, The Curtains Only Being Raised Right Before The First Scene Of The Movie.

Bass Once Described His Main Goal For His Title Sequences As: ‘’try To Reach For A Simple, Visual Phrase That Tells You What The Picture Is All About And Evokes The Essence Of The Story”. Another Viewpoint That Bass Described As Influencing His Title Sequences Was The Objective Of Getting The Audience To See Proverbial Parts Of Their World In An Unusual Way. He Called It, “making The Ordinary Extraordinary” And It Can Be Seen In Walk On The Wild Side (1962) Where An Ordinary Cat Becomes A Mysterious Prowling Predator, And In Nine Hours To Rama (1963) Where The Interior Workings Of A Clock Become An Expansive New Landscape.

Toward The End Of His Career, He Was Rediscovered By James L. Brooks And Martin Scorsese Who Had Grown Up Admiring His Film Work. For Scorsese, Saul Bass (in Collaboration With His Second Wife, Elaine (Makatura) Bass), Created Title Sequences For Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), The Age Of Innocence (1993), And Casino (1995), His Last Title Sequence. His Later Work With Martin Scorsese Saw Him Move Away From The Optical Techniques That He Had Pioneered And Move Into The Use Of Computerized Effects. Bass’s Title Sequences Featured New And Innovative Methods Of Production And Astounding Graphic Design.

In Some Sense, All Modern Opening Title Sequences That Initiate The Mood Or Theme Of A Film Can Be Seen As A Bequest Of Saul Bass’s Innovative Work. Title Sequences For Some Recent Movies And Television Series, Especially Those Whose Setting Is During The 1960s Have Purposely Emulated The Graphic Style Of His Animated Sequences From That Era. Some Examples Of Title Sequences That Pay Homage To Bass’s Graphics And Animated Title Sequences Are Catch Me If You Can (2002), X-Men: First Class (2011), And The Opening To The AMC Series Mad Men.

1. The Man With The Golden Arm

2. Storm Center

3. Love In The Afternoon

4. Saint Joan

5. Bonjour Tristesse

6. Vertigo

7. Anatomy Of A Murder

8. Exodus

9. The Magnificent Seven

10. The Cardinal

11. Nine Hours To Rama

12. In Harm’s Way

13. Grand Prix

14. Schindler’s List

15. Schindler’s List

16. The Shining

17. Such Good Friends

18. The Fixer

19. The Two Of Us

20. 68th Annual Academy Awards

21. Sinfonia Varsovia World Tour

22.The Music Center Unified Fund

23. Games Of The XXIIrd Olympiad

24. Special Olympics

25. Human Rights 1789–1989

26. Human Rights Watch Film Festival

27. Freedom Of The Press

28. Environment

29. United States Film Festival

30. Filmex

Allen Ray

is a graphic designer. The Design Mag was founded in 2008, and since then she is constantly looking for new ways to serve the Design community both online and offline. It is her ultimate goal to make The Design Mag the best source for Design related Tutorial and Resources. Follow on Twitter@thedesignmag

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