By Chelsea Slessor-Smith
For Jamie Olson
Who is saul bass?
○ Saul Bass is best known for his corporate logos, intriguing film posters,
creative title sequences, and stylistic typesetting.
○ He was also an Academy Award winner in filmmaking.
○ He was a famous and inspirational American graphic designer.
“I want everything we do to be beautiful. I don’t
give a damn whether the client understands that
that’s worth anything, or that the client thinks
it’s worth anything, or whether it is worth
anything. It’s worth it to me. It’s the way I want
to live my life. I want to make beautiful things,
even if nobody cares.”
○ Saul Bass was born on May 8th, 1920.
○ His parents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.
○ He attended part-time classes at the Art Students League in Manhattan.
○ After that, he took night classes at Brooklyn College with György Kepes.
Down to business
○ Saul Bass started with print work for small film ads
in the 1940s while in Hollywood.
○ He got his big break when he collaborated with Otto
Preminger, a successful filmmaker from the Ukraine.
○ They designed the poster for Carmen Jones, a film
by Preminger in 1954.
○ Bass was asked to design the title sequence as well
because Preminger was so impressed with his work on
“Symbolize and summarize.”
○ These are some of his well-known company
○ He also created logos for Japan Energy, J.
Paul Getty Trust, Kosé Cosmetics, Calanese
Corporation, Wienerschnitzel, and more.
○ Many Bass logos had an unusually long life
span for a logo and typically only changed
because of a merger or downfall of the
company instead of a redesign choice.
○ On average, Bass corporate logos have lasted
more than 34 years.1
“My initial thoughts about what a title can do
was to set mood and the prime underlying core of
the film's story, to express the story in some
metaphorical way. 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.”
○ Saul Bass was a pioneer in
creative opening and closing
credits of a movie.
○ He envisioned them dynamic and
interesting, ones that an audience
would like to watch.
○ He invented his own typography
that quickly became a signature
feature in his work.
○ As he made more and more title
sequences, he moved on from
simplistic visions to more diverse
techniques like live action and
○ His live action openings often acted
as a prologue or portrayed moments
that happened just before the first
scene in the movie.
“For the average audience, the credits tell them
there’s only three minutes left to eat popcorn. I
take this ‘dead’ period and try to do more than
simply get rid of names that filmgoers aren’t
interested in. I aim to set up the audience for
what’s coming; make them expectant.”
○ Saul Bass created iconic movie posters that were different from preceding
○ He typically developed his posters with simplified, symbolic designs that
represented key aspects and parts of the film.
○ He also put to work his famous typography in many of his most popular
○ His posters caused many artists and designers to draw inspiration from his
stylistic minimalism and distinctive features.
○ Many of these artists pay homage to him by basing their posters or art from his
style, although to Bass, some were too close for comfort and he claimed theft.
○ It can be said that all modern title sequences drew their inspiration
from Bass and act as his legacy to the art.
○ There have been many movie posters made in his style by other artists
and general fans.
○ The downloadable font “Hitchcock” was made in image of Bass’ iconic
○ A designer even released a Wordpress theme that embodied his title
○ I think Saul Bass has an incredibly unique style that is creative and
○ He has made some really big name logos out there that I can recognize
to this day because they are still being used by the companies.
○ His movie posters are fascinating.
○ He has a brilliantly creative mind.
○ His style is very original and easily recognizable.
○ He was a pioneer in interesting movie credits and I can see his influence
in many of my favorite movies such as James Bond, Bourne Trilogy, and
“I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody