Saul Bass


Saul Bass

Graphic Designer (1920-1996)

SAUL BASS (1920-1996) was not only one of the great graphic designers of the mid-20th century but the undisputed master of film title design thanks to his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Martin Scorsese.

When the reels of film for Otto Preminger’s controversial new drugs movie, The Man with the Golden Arm, arrived at US movie theatres in 1955, a note was stuck on the cans – “Projectionists – pull curtain before titles”.

That cut-out arm caused a sensation and Saul Bass reinvented the movie title as an art form. By the end of his life, he had created over 50 title sequences for Preminger, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, John Frankenheimer and Martin Scorsese. Although he later claimed that he found the Man with the Golden Arm sequence “a little disappointing now, because it was so imitated”.

Now over-shadowed by Bass’ later work, Carmen Jones elicited commissions for titles for two 1955 movies: Robert Aldrich’s The Big Knife, and Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch. But it was his next Preminger project, The Man with the Golden Arm, which established Bass as the doyen of film title design.

1996 Saul Bass dies in Los Angeles of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

The New Masters of flash

In this book, Bendan Dawes talks about Saul Bass in relation to his work:

“Were Saul alive today, I feel sure he would be using Flash as his creative medium. You only have to look at his stunning titles for movies like psycho lines slashing across the screen) to recognise his work as the forerunner of many of todays flash web site sequences. Even if the creator doesn’t know.”
Saul Bass isnt somebody I would have chose to look up but I am actually glad I did. It seems he was a very well respected person within the design industry, and as mensioned in the book above, it would have been interested to see what he could of designed with the materials and software of today.

About bonny83

I am currently studying at Glyndwr University, North Wales School of Art and Design. Design Communication is the main subject body while also looking at a large variety of the many forms of Art. My main interest is illustration and I am considering illustration for children's books for the future. Art and Design has always been a huge part of my life and i am enjoying taking things further for a possible career.

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