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  • Bass’ titles for the film feature spiny, cut-out projectiles, vaguely redolent of veins and syringes, that manages to be disconcerting despite the accompaniment of Elmer Bernstein’s rather brassy jazz score. The lines proliferate and jab at awkward, unsettling angles with respect to the titles. And the title of the film is seemingly penned in by four of these lines, suggesting the many forces hemming in Sinatra’s Frankie from all sides. Finally, privileging Preminger’s credit, the titular “golden arm” (which actually refers to Frankie’s prowess as a card dealer and not the location of his track-marks) appears as a bent and tortured appendage, reaching out for either redemption or a fix.
  • Vibrant orange fills the entire screen. Specifically placed vertical bars strew the composition—an abstract form, yet strangely representative. The static image is in service to a ripely varied overture; as the “mood” of the score changes the colour follows suit. The kaleidoscope culminates in a blue frame, and pulls backward to reveal the film title below. The image segues to an aerial shot of Manhattan, and the source of the vertical pattern is confirmed. This simplistic sequence is an exemplary use of colour, and is complementary to the accompanying overture. Perhaps more so than any other example in Bass’ catalogue, this is a wholly dependent exercise. Likewise, Leonard Bernstein’s score is complimented invaluably by the visual treatment. In unison, the visual and aural elements import the title of the film with resounding significance—the abstract bars, even, resemble a perforated music roll.
  • “ 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’ work influenced generations of graphic designers to follow and transform the ordinary movie title sequence into an art form in itself. Such as...Steven Spielberg’s 2002 Catch Me If You Can , created by Florence Deygas & Olivier Kuntzel.
  • In 1958, Saul Bass worked once more with Otto Preminger for Anatomy of a Murder. I think his deconstructive technique works especially well the dead body, and is a clever play of the “anatomy” part of the film’s title. The design influence for the Anatomy of a Murder poster is evident in the poster for Clockers (Spike Lee, 1995). This was not put together by Bass. Most recently, a homage to Saul Bass in this poster for Precious (Lee Daniels, 2009).

Saul bass Saul bass Presentation Transcript

  • About Saul Bass...Saul Bass (1920-1996) was anAmerican graphic designerwho became famous for hiswork in film and classic logodesign.
  • He is best knownfor his use ofsimple, geometricshapes and theirsymbolism. Often,a single dominantimage stands aloneto deliver apowerful message.
  • Early Career• Born on May 8, 1920, in New York City.• He studied Design at the Art Students League in Manhattan.• After apprenticeships with Manhattan design firms, Bass worked as a freelance graphic designer.
  • Bass’s posters had an uncanny ability tocapture the mood of a film with simpleshapes and images. This was his preferredmethod as opposed to using a boringphotograph of a film star.
  • These shapes, as well as type, were often hand drawnby Bass to create a casual appearance, always packedwith a sophisticated message. Used to great effect insome of his most well known film posters.
  • All of Basss posters had a distinctivestyleHis work spanned five decades andinspired numerous other designers.
  • He revolutionized the way thatpeople viewed title creditsequences by using the time notjust to display the informationbut give a short visual metaphoror story that intrigued theviewer.Often it was a synopsis orreference to the movie itself.
  • Analysis of SaulBass’ TitleSequences...
  • Watch Title Sequence
  • The Man with the Golden ArmBass’ titles for the film feature spiny, cut-outprojectiles, vaguely redolent of veins and syringes, thatmanages to be disconcerting despite the accompaniment ofElmer Bernstein’s rather brassy jazz score. The linesproliferate and jab at awkward, unsettling angles withrespect to the titles. And the title of the film isseemingly penned in by four of these lines, suggesting themany forces hemming in Sinatra’s Frankie from all sides.Finally, privileging Preminger’s credit, the titular“golden arm” (which actually refers to Frankie’s prowessas a card dealer and not the location of his track-marks)appears as a bent and tortured appendage, reaching out foreither redemption or a fix.
  • Watch Title Sequence
  • West Side Story• Vibrant orange fills the entire screen. Specifically placed vertical bars strew the composition—an abstract form, yet strangely representative. The static image is in unison with the varied overture; as the “mood” of the score changes the colour follows suit. The kaleidoscope culminates in a blue frame, and pulls backward to reveal the film title below. The image segues to an aerial shot of Manhattan, and the source of the vertical pattern is confirmed.• This simplistic sequence is an exemplary use of colour, and is complementary to the accompanying overture. Perhaps more so than any other example in Bass’ catalogue, this is a wholly dependent exercise. Likewise, Leonard Bernstein’s score is complemented invaluably by the visual treatment. In unison, the visual and aural elements import the title of the film with resounding significance—the abstract bars, even, resemble a perforated music roll.
  • What Saul Bass thought about design...
  • “I want everythingwe do to bebeautiful. I don’tgive a damn whetherthe clientunderstands thatthat’s worthanything, or thatthe client thinksit’s worth anything,or whether it isworth anything. It’sworth it to me. It’sthe way I want tolive my life. I wantto make beautifulthings, even ifnobody cares. “—Saul Bass
  • Saul Bass’ workinfluenced generations Steven Spielberg’sof graphic designers to 2002follow and transform the Catch Me If You Can , created byordinary movie title Florence Deygas &sequence into an art Olivier Kuntzel.form in itself. Various film title sequences and movie posters
  • In 1958, Saul Bass The designworked once more influence forwith Otto the Anatomy of aPreminger for Murder poster isAnatomy of a evident in theMurder. I think poster for Clockers (Spikehis deconstructive Lee, 1995). Thistechnique works was not putespecially well together bythe dead body, and Bass.is a clever playof the “anatomy”part of the film’s Most recently, a homage totitle. Saul Bass in this poster for Precious (Lee Daniels, 2009).
  • Thanks for watching
  • Researching for a Presentation:•Make a powerpoint/prezi as thiscan go on your blogs.•Divide research areas betweengroup members.•DONT JUST COPY AND PASTE - youneed to PRESENT your findings tothe class, not just read them offthe board.
  • Areas to research & present:•Brief biography of the designer - how and why they cameto work in title design, other areas worked in theindustry etc.•Catalogue of work•Close analysis of two title sequences with particularattention paid to the use of the titles themselves(typography, how and when they appear, order)•Comment from designer about at least one of their owntitles and about what they consider to be the importanceof the title sequence.•Useful websites to get you started:•www.artofthetitle.com•www.watchthetitles.com
  • • Title sequence designers to choose from:Richard MorrisonDanny YountKarin FongPaul DonnellonBob Kurtz
  • HomeworkWrite a post summarising today’s lesson onSaul Bass and analyse at least one OTHER ofhis titles, considering its use of histrademark style.