Saul Bass (May 8, 1920 – April 25, 1996)
Bass was a American graphic designer who is
best known for his motion picture title
His career spanned over four decades working
alongside Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger,
Stanley Kubrick & Martin Scorsese.
Bass begin his career as a Hollywood
doing print work for film ads until he met
Otto Preminger to design the film poster
for his 1954 film Carmen Jones. Bass’s
work was so impressive that Otto asked
him to design the title sequence for the
film . It was at this point that Bass
realized the importance of the closing
and opening credits of a film so he
created something inspiring. Bass has
said "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."
"Design is thinking made visual."
Bass became popular after her designed the title sequence for The Man with the
Golden Arm(1955). The plot of the film was about a jazz musician‘s finding it very
difficult to quit heroin and dealing with his personal addiction, this was a taboo
subject in the 1950’s. 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 was well received.
Saul Bass has turned pictures and words into
stories for audiences to understand and
remember he was truly a pioneer and well
ahead of his time.