Thursday, 11 September 2008

Saul Bass

As I was walking home yesterday, I came across a poster for Pluk de Nacht, a film festival in Amsterdam that shows previously unreleased films. I was walking by and not paying much attention, but still the poster caught my eye and I immediately thought of Saul Bass.

Saul Bass was a graphic designer, most famous for his work on film posters for Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese; his most iconic poster might just be the one he made for Otto Preminger's The Man with the Golden Arm:

Bass was also very well known for his amazing animated title sequences for several films; Hitchcock's Vertigo and Psycho of course, but also 1991's GoodFellas and even The Age of Innocence - how's that for diversity? My favourite is the title sequence he made for North by Northwest, it's just genius:

Before he started working on films, Bass was already a sought-after graphic designer. In his lifetime he created corporate identities and logos for companies such as Continental Airlines, the Girl Scouts of the USA (!), Wesson Oil and Geffen Records. Wikipedia reports that at one point, his AT&T Bell System logo had a 93 percent recognition rate in the United States.

Saul Bass is a legend in graphic design, you can find an interesting biography with a timeline of his major works on the Design Museum's website.

More interesting websites and blogs on Saul Bass:
· a very stylish website dedicated to saul, focusing mostly on his poster designs.
· a collection of his film posters.
· a great post on Design*Sponge about Saul Bass' children's book, 'Henri's Walk To Paris'.

Plus, I highly recommend these YouTube-videos:
· a little gem that popped up on YouTube a few months ago: Saul Bass vs Star Wars
· opening sequence from Anatomy of a Murder
· opening sequence from The Man With the Golden Arm
· opening sequence from Vertigo


Kathryn said...

Yeah, I love the work Saul Bass did for Hitchcock's films. Especially that "North by Northwest" opening which you mentioned - my favorite too!

vanina said...

i would love to get my hands on a copy of 'henri walks to paris', to think that most of saul's film posters looked rather sinister, and then you have those love illustrations; they remind me a bit of the 'peanuts'-films, even! there's great contrast in all the work he's done, and i think that's the sign of a true artist.

Jack Daniel said...

Oh waaaauw, didn't he also created something for the movie 'catch me if you can'? The intro of that movie has the exact same style. The tuneof the intro is definitely one of my all time favorites. I could listen to it allll day.

vanina said...

saul bass sadly died in 1996, but his work has inspired a lot of homages in films like catch me if you can and sleeve art like the white stripes' 'the hardest button to button'. it just goes to show how influential mr. bass was; people can't imagine a 1960s-themed film without his trademark opening montages! :)