Saul Bass was a popular American graphic designer and Academy award winning filmmaker, known especially for his film poster and title sequence design. Bass has famously worked with some of Hollywood’s best known celebrity filmmakers such as the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Otto Preminger and Martin Scorsese. He gained international acclaim in the film industry when he produced the title sequence for the Otto Preminger movie, The Man with the Golden Arm in 1955.
Prior to Saul Bass, movie posters as well as the title credits were static and boring, but he brought great interest to them with his iconic minimalistic style. He introduced drama and interest to these dreary graphics by incorporating images to the text and also moving them across the screen coining them as ‘Kinetic text’. One example is seen in the 1990 title sequence for the Martin Scorsese film, Goodfellas which happens to be one of my favorite films possibly due to the impact which Saul Bass’ credits had on the viewer. The opening white text moved across the black background while being matched by the sound of a motorcar speeding past which appealed to both ones sense of sight and hearing as well.
Bass not only focused on film design but he also produced some of the most recognisable corporate identities in North America such as the original AT&T “bell” logo in 1969, as well as the more noticeable “globe” in 1983. Along with AT&T he designed also the logos for Continental and United Airlines in 1968 and 1974 respectively. He like many of his contemporaries such as Paul Rand, he focused primarily on minimalism in design and the philosophy that “Less is more”.
Eventually Saul Bass and his wife Elaine, distanced themselves from producing movie titles and focused more on filmmaking and raising their children. It should be noted as well that Saul Bass’s designs were of great popularity to Scorsese who convinced him to produce the credits for not only Goodfellas, but also several of his other popular films such as Cape Fear, the Age of Innocence and Bass’ final title sequence before he died, Casino.
Saul Bass Artwork
The Shining Poster (1980), Saul Bass
Casino title sequence (1995), Saul Bass
Saul Bass Inspired Artwork
‘Game of Thrones’ Art Prints In The Style of Saul Bass (2013), Fernando Reza
Ad campaign for Allstate Insurance (2015), Leo Burnett