Saul Bass: Design is Thinking Made Visible

photo credit: The Saul Bass Poster Archive

photo credit: The Saul Bass Poster Archive

“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.” (Haskins, Pamela "Saul, Can You Make Me a Title? Interview with Saul Bass". Film Quarterly Autumn 1996 pp. 12–13.)

A visionary credited with changing film title sequences forever, Saul Bass trained as a graphic designer, hailing from the east coast before making the move to the heart of the film industry in Hollywood, and making California his home.

During his groundbreaking 40 year career, Bass worked for directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick on legendary films including Psycho and Spartacus, and later, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.

Bass was instrumental in realising the creative potential of title sequences and credits to help introduce the story and set the scene of the film, cleverly expressing the visual style of the movie with a graphic understanding.

Contemporary designers have continued to be inspired by his legacy and pay homage to his work, as seen in examples such as the opening to the television series Mad Men.

Bass followed up his extraordinary film career with a return to his graphic designer roots and the creation of seriously iconic corporate logos for clients such as United Airlines and Minolta, still in use today.

And one cannot look at the life and work of Bass without also remarking on the talent of his life and working partner, collaborator and wife, Elaine.

Inspired by A Handbook of California Design, 1930-1965 - Craftspeople, Designers, Manufacturers, edited by Bobbye Tigerman, Los Angeles County Museum of Art 2013

credit: Wikipedia,, Section D: On Design episode 23 by Ben Rylan on Monocle radio

title quote credit; Kirkham, Pat & Jennifer Bass (2011) Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design. London: Laurence King