SAUL BASS WAS A GRAPHIC DESIGNER... His typography consists of simple, geometric shapes that carry heavy symbolism. His style was basic and casual and he revolutionized title sequences. He also designed logos (Continental Airlines, Frontier Airlines) and film posters, not just animate and direct opening title sequences. Horizontal and vertical lines were used often in his work.His work has the uncanny ability to capture the mood of a view and give a short visual metaphor, or story, that would intrigue the audience. He worked with directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese and Otto Preminger. Popular title sequences of Bass include “The Man with the Golden Arm”, “Vertigo” and “North By Northwest”
“VERTIGO” TITLE SEQUENCE ANALYSIS” http://www.artofthetitle.com/title/vertigo/The title sequence begins with a bold, ominous soundtrack: thestrong, low tones immediately create a sense of dread and fear for theaudience. Following this are several different close up shots of awoman’s face, possibly already introducing a character of the film.Her eyes look from one direction to the next, connoting anxiety andnerves. An extreme close up shot of one eye widening and showingfright suggests the genre of the film (horror or thriller?) and creates atone and atmosphere of fear for the audience. The screen then goesred, which carries connotations of danger, blood and love, but, as thefont is bold and white, also helps the name of the film stand out.
The majority of the sequence is made up of Bass’ famous geographic shapes but instead of lines, spirals were used. These connote madness and instability and, as we know that Bass’ title sequences usually offer an insight to the mood or narrative of the film, could be suggesting the immediate or eventual state of her mind as the first spiral is seen in the woman’s eye, setting up an enigma for the audience. These spirals change colour and disorient the audience, linking in with the name of the film as the main symptom of vertigo is dizziness. The spirals are also hypnotic and, towards the end of the sequence, begin to overlap each other, giving the audience a feel of disorder and possibly chaos. The pace of the sequence is relatively slow, but this creates tension and confusion for the audience. During this time, the opening credits are on screen and are written in a blank, white text.
The last shot of the sequence reverts back to the close up of the female’s eye, where it continues to look around and suggest that somebody is being watched as well as anxiety and fear.