During his 40-year career he worked for some of Hollywood’s greatest filmmakers, including most notably Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. Amongst 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 text racing up and down what eventually becomes a high-angle shot of the United Nations building in Alfred Hitchcock‘s North by Northwest, and the disjointed text that raced together and was pulled apart for Psycho (1960).
Saul Bass designed the sixth AT&T Bell System logo. He also designed AT&T‘s “globe” logo after the breakup of the Bell System. Bass also designed Continental Airlines‘ 1968 “jetstream” logo which became the most recognized airline industry logo of the 1970s.
Saul Bass was born on May 8, 1920, in New York City. He studied at the Art Students League in Manhattan until attending classes with György Kepes at Brooklyn College. He began his time in Hollywood doing print work for film ads, until he collaborated with filmmaker Otto Preminger to design the film poster for his 1954 film Carmen Jones. Preminger was so impressed with Bass’s work that he asked him to produce the title sequence as well. This was when Bass first saw the opportunity to create something more than a title sequence, but to create something which would ultimately enhance the experience of the audience and contribute to the mood and the theme of the movie within the opening moments. Bass was one of the first to realize the creative potential of the opening and closing credits of a movie.
Film title sequences
Bass became widely known in the industry after creating the title sequence for Otto Preminger‘s The Man with the Golden Arm (1955). The subject of the film was a jazz musician’s struggle to overcome his heroin addiction, a taboo subject in the mid-’50s. Bass decided to create a controversial title sequence to match the film’s controversial subject. He chose the arm as the central image, as the arm is a strong image relating to drug addiction. The titles featured an animated, black paper cut-out arm of a heroin addict. As he expected, it caused quite a sensation.
For Alfred Hitchcock, Bass provided effective, memorable title sequences, employing kinetic typography, for North by Northwest, Vertigo, working with John Whitney, and Psycho. It was this kind of innovative, revolutionary work that made Bass a revered graphic designer. His later work with Martin Scorsese saw him move away from the optical techniques that he had pioneered and move into computerized titles, from which he produced the title sequence for Casino.
He designed title sequences for 40 years, for films as diverse as Spartacus (1960), The Victors (1963), It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and Casino (1995). He also designed title sequences for films such as Goodfellas (1990), Doc Hollywood (1991), Cape Fear (1991) and The Age of Innocence (1993), all of which feature new and innovative methods of production and startling graphic design.
Another great artist using blocks of color to create images though Bass is a little more simple and uses white space to create people in his images, it gives the impression that the colors are inverted. I also like the spacing between the blocks, its like the blocks represent his grid system that he’s working on. I also like how he has his own font for his posters rather than just sticking to a default from the computer list he has took it a step further.