Background information• Saul was born in New York City on May 8, 1920.• He was interested in art from an early age and did all that he could to expand his passions.• At the age of 15, he began taking painting classes at the Art Students League in Manhattan.• He studied here until he was old enough to attend Brooklyn College.• His stay here, under the tutelage of Gyorgy Kepes, would be the turning point in his life and work.• He was deeply influenced in his studies on the Modernist School of Design and what he learned would have a hold on all that he did for the next fifty years.• Following graduation, he worked his way around a number of New York advertising agencies before moving to Los Angeles in 1948.• Bass worked also as a freelance designer during that time.• The reason why he moved to Los Angeles, California, was so he could establish and operate a more permanent business venture, a design firm called Saul Bass and Associates.
Master of Movie Titles• Bass entered the film industry in 1954 when he developed the advertising campaign for Carmen Jones, an Otto Preminger production.• The central image devised by Bass for that movie was a simple but evocative rose in flames.• The image served as a cohesive motiffor the film promotion and led to a successive assignment from Preminger.• He was asked to create the promotion motif for a 1955 Frank Sinatra film, called Man with the Golden Arm. Bass developed a graphic symbol for the films advertising promotion by designing a logo that was shaped like an arm and intended to represent addiction.• Preminger approved the logo and requested bass to create the title track sequence for the movie as well. As devised by Bass, the films title track initially called for a series of animated rectangular shapes that marched into position to form an arm.• The arm, continually distorted accented further the movies central theme of drug addition. The design of the arm developed into the basis of an advertising campaign, although the smoothly animated quality of the sequence, as it was originally designed, was eliminated from the final track.• Interestingly, it was a tug-of-war relationship between Bass and Preminger that resulted in the final version of the movie opener with disjointed animation of the arm.• While Bass argued that the sequence fell flat without animation, Preminger stubbornly opposed the idea.• The final compromise, staccato-like movements as the arm segments maneuvered through the visual progression, quickly earned a spot in the annals of classic moments in American film.
About bass’s work.• In the world of Saul Bass, letters walked, and roses turned to raindrops; analogous correspondence between unrelated objects was a way of life.• He was a master of presentation and communication. He extracted simple and unassuming moments in time, raising each to the level of great art.• With his great knack for exposing a magic meld between image, typography, and motion, he held seasoned filmmakers in awe as repeatedly he captured the naked essence of a two-hour feature-length film and condensed the emotion of the drama into a brief title track of two minutes or less.• Bass possessed a heightened sense of expression and an ability to convey atmosphere, theme, and story line through the preliminary title sequence of a feature film.• For four decades he grabbed the attention of the movie going public, holding spectators riveted to the silver screen, eager to follow the title track into the substance of the plot.• As an advertising designer he endowed similar extensions of form and perception to products other than motion pictures.• With deftly coordinated combinations of advertising and product packaging, he transformed the corporate image into a cohesive personality, poised to seduce the consumer.