Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design

Saul Bass : A life in Film & Design - The Book Review

Saul Bass : A Life in Film & Design – The Book Review

Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design by Jennifer Bass & Pat Kirkham

Few other designers permeate the creative world quite like Saul Bass (1920-1996). Ask any Designer/Illustrator to name their influences (especially those among the new wave of minimalist movie posters) and you’ll almost certainly hear his name. So it comes as a surprise that this is the first biography and career retrospective of this most prolific and influential artist.

Saul’s daughter, Jennifer Bass (Graphic Designer) and Pat Kirkham (Design Historian) present a comprehensive and personal look at a lifetime of work covering Saul’s earliest advertising and album cover designs to his popular movie posters, title sequences, short films and corporate identities. More than simply a retrospective, this is a book Saul had envisaged creating himself and throughout are his first-hand anecdotes and insightful comments relating to his theories on design and relationships with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and Otto Preminger.

The largest section of the book is quite rightly devoted to his work on opening title and credit sequences for film (often in collaboration with his wife Elaine) with notable examples being The Man With The Golden Arm (the one that started it all), Anatomy Of A Murder, Grand Prix and Casino. Interestingly, Saul was also commissioned to design and storyboard entire scenes for Spartacus and Psycho. Included in the book are Saul’s storyboards for Psycho’s infamous shower scene, a sequence cleverly designed to leave most of its brutality to your imagination and in doing so created a classic moment in cinema history. A film that quite possibly would have been reduced to forgettable b-moviedom were it placed in less skillful hands than that of Hitchcock, Bass and Bernard Herrmann.

The following chapter covers a series of short films Saul made with Elaine, sharing their strong creative and ecological values that led onto Saul’s only full-length feature, the psychedelic cult film Phase IV. Completing the book is a large collection of packaging, branding and advertising work for companies such as Warner Brothers, AT&T, Continental Airlines and Quaker Oats, which offer a compelling look at how ‘high art’ concepts can be applied to the mainstream corporate world.

An introduction by Martin Scorsese is recommendation enough for the quality and importance of the work contained, and given the shortage of other titles on Saul Bass, this is a long overdue book that every Graphic Designer should have on the shelf.

Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design by Jennifer Bass & Pat Kirkham
Laurence King
Hardback 440 pages
29.7 x 26.9 x 4.3 cm

BUY NOW>

Review by Christopher King (aka Wing’s Art & Design Studio) a Freelance Illustrator & Graphic Designer creating hand-drawn & digital artwork for posters, flyers, books & advertising clients. Also something of a movie buff.

Saul Bass

Saul Bass

Photograph for Show Business Illustrated

Photograph for Show Business Illustrated

Pabco Paint Ads

Pabco Paint Ads

Stills from Grand Prix Opening Titles

Stills from Grand Prix Opening Titles

Opening titles from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World.

Opening titles from It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World.

Vertigo Poster Design

Vertigo Poster Design

Opening Titles from Casino

Opening Titles from Casino

Continental Airlines Logo Design

Continental Airlines Logo Design

Oscars Advertising Campaigns

Oscars Advertising Campaigns

Saul Bass

Saul Bass

Next Week - Daniel Clowes Modern Cartoonist

Next Week – Daniel Clowes Modern Cartoonist

One thought on “Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design

  1. Pingback: Christopher King – Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design – The Book Review | Illustration and Art News for Illustrators and Artists

Let me know what you think....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s