Born May 8, 1920
New York City
Died April 25, 1996 (aged 75)
Occupation Graphic designer, title designer, film
I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody
cares, as opposed to ugly things. That’s my
Who is Saul Bass?
• A Graphic designer and filmmaker, he’s known best for his film posters and title
• During his 40-year career Bass worked for some of Hollywood's most prominent
filmmakers, including Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, Stanley
Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. Among his most famous title sequences are the
animated paper cut-out of a heroin addict's arm for Preminger's The Man with the
Golden Arm, the credits racing up and down what eventually becomes a high-angle
shot of a skyscraper in Hitchcock's North by Northwest, and the disjointed text that
races together and apart in Psycho.
• Bass designed some of the most iconic corporate logos in North America, including
the Bell System logo in 1969, as well as AT&T's globe logo in 1983 after the breakup
of the Bell System. He also designed Continental Airlines' 1968 jet stream logo and
United Airlines' 1974 tulip logo, which became some of the most recognized airline
industry logos of the era.
• From the late 1940’s until the early 1990’s, he created more than a dozen campaigns
for films, with an even higher number dedicated to title sequences. Bass' work was
risky, his posters were largely stripped down affairs that focused and strengthened
attention rather than overwhelmed and scattered it into a million pieces. Colours were
few, but bold in their application. The text and imagery itself was often treated
similarly to a logo or a symbol: strong, simple, memorable, metaphorical, and easily
applied to any number of other graphic applications.
• Most relevant to our thriller is his work on the sequence ‘Cape Fear’ We have analysed
this opening in a previous blog and his work will influence the decisions we will make
in creating a title sequence for our film. I particularly like the simplistic nature of his
title sequences- these use connotations instead of description. As the mind is the most
powerful tool in creating fear his sequences were extremely effective in building the
mood for each film.