The Info List - Saul Bass

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SAUL BASS (/sɔːl bæs/ ; May 8, 1920 – April 25, 1996) was an American graphic designer and Academy Award
Academy Award
-winning filmmaker, best known for his design of motion-picture title sequences , film posters , and corporate logos .

During his 40-year career Bass worked for some of Hollywood's most prominent filmmakers, including Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
, Otto Preminger , Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
, Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick
and Martin Scorsese
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 disjointed text that races together and apart in Psycho .

Bass designed some of the most iconic corporate logos in North America, including the Bell System
Bell System
logo in 1969, as well as AT vertical-align: top;">

* Carmen Jones (1954) * The Big Knife
The Big Knife
(1955) * The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) * The Racers (1955) * The Seven Year Itch
The Seven Year Itch
(1955) * The Shrike (1955) * Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) * Storm Center (1956) * Attack (1956) * Edge of the City (1957) * Saint Joan (1957) * The Pride and the Passion (1957) * The Young Stranger (1957) * Bonjour Tristesse (1958) * Cowboy (1958) * Vertigo (1958) * The Big Country (1958)

* Anatomy of a Murder
Anatomy of a Murder
(1959) * North by Northwest (1959) * Psycho (1960) * Spartacus
(1960) * The Facts of Life (1960) * Exodus (1960) * Ocean\'s 11 (1960) * West Side Story (1961) * Something Wild (1961) * Advise vertical-align: top;">

* Grand Prix (1966) * Not with My Wife, You Don\'t! (1966) * Seconds (1966) * Such Good Friends (1971) * That\'s Entertainment, Part II (1976) * Broadcast News (1987) * Big (1988) * The War of the Roses (1989) * Goodfellas (1990) * Cape Fear (1991) * Doc Hollywood
Doc Hollywood
(1991) * Mr. Saturday Night
Mr. Saturday Night
(1992) * The Age of Innocence
The Age of Innocence
(1993) * Higher Learning (1995) * Casino (1995)


Logos designed by Saul Bass. From top left: Bell System, AT&T, General Foods, United Airlines, Avery International, Continental Airlines, Celanese, United Way, Rockwell International, Minolta, Girl Scouts of the USA, Lawry's Foods, Quaker Oats, Kleenex, Frontier Airlines, Dixie, Warner Communications, and Fuller Paints

Bass was responsible for some of the best-remembered, most iconic logos in North America, including both the Bell Telephone logo (1969) and successor AT">

* Alcoa (1963) * AT&T Corporation
AT&T Corporation
(1969 and 1983) * Avery International (1975) * Boys vertical-align: top;">

* Kose Cosmetics (1991) * Lawry\'s Foods (1959) * Minami Sports (1991) * Minolta
(1978) * NCR Corporation
NCR Corporation
(1996) * Quaker Oats
Quaker Oats
(1969) * Rockwell International (1968) * Security Pacific Bank (1966) * United Airlines
United Airlines
(1974) * United Way (1972) * US postage stamp , "Science and Industry" (1983) * Warner Communications (1974) * Wienerschnitzel (1978) * Wesson Oil (1964) * YWCA

An analysis of a sample of Bass’s corporate logos in 2011 found them to have an unusual longevity. The most common cause of the end of a Bass corporate logo (in the selection analyzed) was the demise or merge of the company, rather than a corporate logo redesign. The average lifespan of a Bass logo is more than 34 years.


The Man with the Golden Arm poster designed by Bass

Saul Bass
Saul Bass
designed emblematic movie posters that transformed the visuals of film advertising. Before Bass’s seminal poster for The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), movie posters were dominated by depictions of key scenes or characters from the film, often both juxtaposed with each other. Bass’s posters, however, typically developed simplified, symbolic designs that visually communicated key essential elements of the film. For example, his poster for The Man with the Golden Arm, with a jagged arm and off-kilter typography, starkly communicates the protagonist's struggle with heroin addiction. Bass's iconic Vertigo (1958) poster, with its stylized figures sucked down into the nucleus of a spiral vortex, captures the anxiety and disorientation central to the film. His poster for Anatomy of a Murder (1959), featuring the silhouette of a corpse jarringly dissected into seven pieces, makes both a pun on the film’s title and captures the moral ambiguities within which this court room drama is immersed.

He created some of his best known posters for films directed by Otto Preminger , Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
, Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
, and Stanley Kubrick among others. His last commissioned film poster was created for Steven Spielberg 's Schindler\'s List (1993), but it was never distributed. His poster work spanned five decades and inspired numerous other poster and graphic designers. Bass's film posters are characterized by a distinctive typography and minimalistic style.

Selected posters by Saul Bass, and their respective dates:


Vertigo poster designed by Bass

* Carmen Jones (1954) * The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) * Edge of the City (1956) * Storm Center (1956) * Love in the Afternoon (1957) * Saint Joan (1957) * Bonjour tristesse (1958) * The Big Country (1958) (style b poster) * Vertigo (1958) * Anatomy of a Murder
Anatomy of a Murder


Anatomy of a Murder
Anatomy of a Murder
poster designed by Bass

* Exodus (1960) * The Magnificent Seven
The Magnificent Seven
(1960) (design not used) * One, Two, Three (1961) * Advise "> The Shining poster designed by Bass

* Such Good Friends (1971) * Rosebud (1975) * Brothers (1977) * Notes on the Popular Arts (1977) * Bass on Titles (1978) * The Human Factor (1979)

1980S AND 1990S

Schindler\'s List poster designed by Bass, his last commissioned film poster (not distributed).

* The Shining (1980) * The Solar Film (1980) * Return from the River Kwai (1989) * Schindler\'s List (1993) (rejected poster)

He received an unintentionally backhanded tribute in 1995, when Spike Lee 's film Clockers was promoted by a poster that was strikingly similar to Bass's 1959 work for Preminger's film Anatomy of a Murder
Anatomy of a Murder
. Designer Art Sims claimed that it was made as an homage, but Bass regarded it as theft. Many film posters have been considered to be homages to Saul Bass’s posters. Some recent examples include the theatrical release poster for Burn After Reading (2008) which incorporates Bass’s typography and style of figurative minimalism, and a poster for Precious (2009) which includes elements from several of Bass’s posters, including Anatomy of a Murder
Anatomy of a Murder
. The cover art for The White Stripes
The White Stripes
' single The Hardest Button to Button is clearly inspired by the Bass poster for The Man with the Golden Arm .

The comic book artist J. H. Williams III 's designs for the Batman story "The Black Glove" pay homage to Bass's designs as well.

In addition to movie posters, Bass designed numerous posters for film festivals, and several magazine, book, and album covers. He also designed five Academy Award
Academy Award
Presentation posters and the Student Academy Award
Academy Award
for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
. In 1962 he illustrated his only children’s book, Henri’s Walk to Paris, written by Lenore Klein.


During the 1960s, Bass was asked by directors and producers to produce not only title sequences for their films, but also to visualize and storyboard key scenes and sequences within them. Bass has the unusual credit of “visual consultant” or “pictorial consultant” on five films. For Spartacus
(1960), Bass as “visual consultant” designed key elements of the gladiator school and storyboarded the final battle between slaves and Romans. John Frankenheimer , the director of Grand Prix (1966), had Bass storyboard, direct, and edit all but one of the racing sequences for his film. For West Side Story (1961) Bass filmed the prologue, storyboarded the opening dance sequence, and created the ending title sequence.

It is Bass’s credited role as “pictorial consultant” for Alfred Hitchcock on Psycho (1960); however, that has caused some controversy and debate. Bass claimed that he participated in directing the highlight scene of Psycho, the tightly edited shower-murder sequence, though several on set at the time (including star Janet Leigh
Janet Leigh
) disputed this claim.

The research of several film scholars on Hitchcock's production of Psycho validates the claim that Bass in his capacity as a graphic artist did indeed have a significant influence on the visual design and pacing of that famous scene. Hitchcock had asked Bass to design and produce storyboards for the shower murder scene and for some other scenes in the film. For this, Bass received a credit as Pictorial Consultant as well as Title Designer. Janet Leigh
Janet Leigh
told Donald Spoto that “the planning of the shower scene was left up to Saul Bass, and Hitchcock followed his storyboard precisely. Because of this . . . went very professionally,” and she told Stephen Rebello that “Mr. Hitchcock showed Saul Bass’s storyboards to me quite proudly, telling me in exact detail how he was going to shoot the scene from Saul’s plans”.

Bill Krohn has noted that Bass's 48 story board panels for the scene introduced all the key aspects of the final shower murder scene – most notably, the fact that the attacker appears as a silhouette, close-ups of a slashing knife, the shower curtain torn down, a shot of the shower head from below, Marion's desperate outstretched arm, and the famous shot of the transition from the drain hole of the bathtub to Marion Crane's dead eye. Krohn notes that this final transition is highly reminiscent of Bass's iris titles for Vertigo . Krohn also concludes that Bass did not literally direct the shower scene, proving Hitchcock's presence on the set throughout the shooting of that scene.

Bass introduced the idea of using a montage of fast cuts and tight framing to render a violent, bloody murder as an impressionistic and nearly bloodless one. Hitchcock felt uncertain about Bass’s conception of the scene fearing that audiences might not accept such a stylized and quickly cut sequence. In an interview with film historian Pat Kirkham, Bass recalled, “Having designed and storyboarded the shower sequence, I showed it to Hitch. He was uneasy about it. It was very un-Hitchcockian in character. He never used that kind of quick cutting; he loved the long shot”.

To convince Hitchcock that the scene would work as planned, eight days before shooting of the final shower scene, Bass used a newsreel camera and Janet Leigh’s stand-in Marli Renfro to shoot footage on the set to plan the shots in more detail. Working with Hitchcock's editor George Tomasini , he edited this footage following the storyboards to show Hitchcock how the scene could work. In the end, Hitchcock gave his approval but, according to Kirkham, made two additions: a spray of blood on the chest of Marion Crane/Janet Leigh as she slides down the tiles, and a close-up of her belly getting stabbed.

In 1964, Saul directed a short film titled The Searching Eye shown during the 1964 New York World\'s Fair , coproduced with Sy Wexler . He also directed a short documentary film called Why Man Creates which won the Academy Award
Academy Award
for Documentary Short Subject in 1968. An abbreviated version of that film was broadcast on the first episode of the television newsmagazine 60 Minutes
60 Minutes
. In 2002, this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Saul, in collaboration with his wife Elaine, directed several other short films, two of which were nominated for Academy Award
Academy Award
Oscars; Notes on the Popular Arts in 1977, and The Solar Film in 1979, the latter for which Robert Redford
Robert Redford
was the executive producer.

In 1974, Saul Bass
Saul Bass
made his only feature-length film as a director, the visually splendid though little-known science fiction film Phase IV , a "Quiet, haunting, beautiful, and largely overlooked, science-fiction masterwork".

The moving image collection of Saul Bass
Saul Bass
is held at the Academy Film Archive and consists of 2,700 items. The film material at the Academy Film Archive is complemented by material in the Saul Bass
Saul Bass
papers at the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library.



"My initial thoughts about what a title can do was to set mood and the prime underlying core of the film's story, to express the story in some metaphorical way. I saw the title as a way of conditioning the audience, so that when the film actually began, viewers would already have an emotional resonance with it." "Design is thinking made visible." "There is nothing glamorous in what I do. I'm a working man. Perhaps I'm luckier than most in that I receive considerable satisfaction from doing useful work which I, and sometimes others, think is good." "Symbolize and summarize."

On May 8, 2013, Bass's 93rd birthday was celebrated by a Google Doodle , which featured the tune " Unsquare Dance " by Dave Brubeck .


* Design portal * Biography portal * Film portal

* Elaine Makatura Bass * Motion graphics * Paul Rand
Paul Rand
* Richard Amsel * Tom Jung * Frank McCarthy * Bob Peak * Drew Struzan * Howard Terpning


* ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1996/04/27/movies/saul-bass-75-designer-dies-made-art-out-of-movie-titles.html * ^ A B C D Kirkham, Pat (10 February 2011). "Reassessing the Saul Bass and Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Collaboration". West 86th. 18. * ^ Horak, Jan-Christopher (2014). Saul Bass: Anatomy of Film Design. The University of Kentucky Press. ISBN 0813147190 . access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ "GranneBlog » Saul Bass
Saul Bass
changed how audiences view movie credits". Blog.granneman.com. Retrieved 2012-06-06. * ^ Bass, Saul (1960). "Film Titles – a New Field for the Graphic Designer". Graphis. 16 (89). * ^ A B Straw, Will (2010). "Letters of Introduction: Film Credits and Cityscapes". Design and Culture. 2 (2). * ^ Kael, Pauline. “One, Two, Three.” Film Quarterly
Film Quarterly
Vol. 15, No. 3. (Spring, 1962): 62–65 * ^ Bass, Saul (1977) Bass on Titles. Pyramid Films. Santa Monica, CA * ^ "Saul Bass". Art of the Title. Retrieved 13 June 2015. * ^ Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham, Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design, Laurence King Publishing, 2011, p. 264 * ^ "Library Exhibitions and Events Saul Bass: biography". BFI. 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2012-06-06. * ^ Sloman, Tony (30 April 1996). "OBITUARY : Saul Bass". The Independent. * ^ Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham, Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design, Laurence King Publishing, 2011, pg.263 * ^ Interview with Olivier Kuntzel and Florence Degas, designers of the Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can
title sequence. Artofthetitle.com. Retrieved 2011-12-10 * ^ Interview with Simon Clowes, designer of the X-Men
First Class title sequence. Watchthetitles.com * ^ Mad Men Q&A: Mad Men Title Designers Mark Gardner and Steve Fuller Retrieved 2011-12-19 * ^ Serling, Robert J. (1974). Maverick: The story of Robert Six and Continental Airlines. Doubleday & Company. ISBN 0-385-04057-1 . * ^ "A postage stamp by Saul Bass". Retrieved 2011-04-02. * ^ Parekh, Rupal (May 8, 2013). "A Few of Our Favorite Saul Bass Logos". Advertising Age . * ^ Kirkham, Pat & Jennifer Bass (2011) Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design (pp. 406 and 420). London: Laurence King * ^ Schaefer, Stephen (September 08, 1995). "Poster Imposter". Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
. 2011-04-02. * ^ " Burn After Reading Poster Inspired by Saul Bass". /Film. June 17, 2008. * ^ "Saul Bass". Dieselation. 2009-05-30. Retrieved 2012-06-06. * ^ Singer, Marc. Grant Morrison: Combining the Worlds of Contemporary Comics. (Univ. Press of Mississippi, Jackson, MS, 2012) p. 272. Link at Google Books. * ^ "Student Academy Award". Oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-12-20. * ^ "grain edit · Henri\'s walk to Paris : Designed by Saul Bass". Grainedit.com. 2012-02-14. Retrieved 2012-06-06. * ^ Harris, Aisha (February 20, 2014) "Did Saul Bass
Saul Bass
Direct the Shower Scene in Psycho?" Slate.com. Retrieved 2014-2-23 * ^ Spoto, Donald (1999 ). The Dark Side Of Genius: The Life Of Alfred Hitchcock. New York: De Capo Press. (pp. 454–455) * ^ Rebello, Stephen (1990). Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
and the Making of Psycho. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. (p. 102) ISBN 0-312-20785-9 . * ^ A B Krohn, Bill (2003). Hitchcock at Work. (pp. London: Phaidon Press. (p. 231) * ^ Library of Congress
Library of Congress
– Press Release – December 12, 2002 * ^ Scalzo, Thomas (August 8, 2005). " Phase IV (review)". Not Coming to a Theater Near You (notcoming.com). Retrieved 2008-10-16. * ^ " Saul Bass
Saul Bass
Collection". Academy Film Archive. * ^ Haskins, Pamela (Autumn 1996). "Saul, Can You Make Me a Title? Interview with Saul Bass". Film Quarterly
Film Quarterly
. pp. 12–13. * ^ Kirkham, Pat & Jennifer Bass (2011) Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design. London: Laurence King * ^ "Art Directors Club biography & images of work". adcglobal.org. Retrieved 2011-04-02. * ^ Saul Bass. " Saul Bass
Saul Bass
RIT Graphic Design Archive". Library.rit.edu. Retrieved 2012-06-06. * ^ "Saul Bass: Designer, artist, and auteur of the opening credits (+video)" by Matthew Shaer, The Christian Science Monitor
The Christian Science Monitor
, May 8, 2013 * ^ Doodle for Saul Bass\' 93rd Birthday on YouTube


* Kirkham, Pat and Jennifer Bass (2011). Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design. London: Laurence King. ISBN 978-1-85669-752-1 . * Tomislav Terek (2001). Saul Bass
Saul Bass
on Titles: Film Titles Revealed. Defunkt Century. ISBN 1-903792-00-2 .


Wikimedia Commons has media related to SAUL BASS .

* Saul