Saul Bass was born on May 8, 1920 in Bronx, New York, but moved to Los Angeles in his mid-twenties in order to pursue a career in Graphic Design. He was extraordinarily diverse and talented, where it regarded design, as he worked in both print design and movie animation. Bass was perhaps best known for his design of film posters and title sequences. During his 40-year career Bass worked for some of Hollywood’s greatest filmmakers, including Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, and Martin Scorsese. He became well-known in the film industry after creating the title sequence for Otto Preminger’s “The Man with the Golden Arm” in 1955.
For Alfred Hitchcock, Bass designed effective and memorable title sequences, inventing a new type of kinetic typography, for “North by Northwest”, “Vertigo” (in collaboration with John Whitney), and “Psycho”. In addition, Bass also designed some of the most iconic corporate logos in North America, including the original AT&T “bell” logo in 1969, as well as their “globe” logo, which came later in 1983. He also designed Continental Airlines’ “jetstream” logo (in 1968) and United Airlines’ “tulip” logo (in 1974), all of which became some of the most recognized logos of the era.
In 1955, Elaine Makatura, began to work with Bass; with both getting married working on the opening title sequence to “Spartacus” (1960), and producing mostly collaborative work thereafter. After the birth of their children, Jennifer in 1964 and Jeffrey (in 1964 and 1967, respectively), the Basses concentrated on their family, short films, and title sequences. Their first joint venture into short filmmaking was with promotional films for pavilions at the 1964 World’s Fair, “From Here to There for United Airlines” and “The Searching Eye for Eastman Kodak”. In 1968, the creative couple made the Oscar-winning short film “Why Man Creates”.
Toward the end of his career, Bass was “rediscovered” by James L. Brooks and Martin Scorsese, who urged the Basses to return to main title design. For Scorsese, they created title sequences for “Goodfellas”, “Cape Fear”, “The Age of Innocence”, and “Casino” (done in 1995 and would be their last title sequence and a picture of Bass’ revered and often imitated legacy). In a sense, all modern opening title sequences that introduce the mood or theme of a film are a legacy of the Basses’ work.
Works influenced/inspired by Bass
Henderson, K. (2012). 20 Graphic Designers You Should Know. Retrieved September 24, 2015, from http://www.complex.com/style/2012/03/20-graphic-designers-you-should-know/15
Saul Bass. Retrieved on October 25, 2015, from http://www.artofthetitle.com/designer/saul-bass/