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Company Name

Saul Bass

Company Type






Graphis Archives

Biography/Work Experience

(1920 – 1996) Saul Bass was an American graphic designer best known for his animated motion picture title sequences. Among his most famous was from the movie, The Man With The Golden Arm, starring Frank Sinatra and Eleanor Parker. In the opening title sequence, he presented an illustration of a heroin addict’s arm — an extremely evocative image for 1955’s moviegoers. During Saul’s filmmaking career he collaborated with Otto Preminger, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. In 1968 he distinguished himself further by winning an Academy Award for directing the documentary film Why Man Creates. The film is about the process of creativity — a subject Saul knew quite well. Saul got his big break in 1954 when Preminger asked him to design the film poster for Carmen Jones. Preminger was impressed with Saul’s work and subsequently asked him to produce the title sequence. It was at this time that Saul first saw the potential a sequence could have in setting the tone of a film. Filmmakers had for year neglected title sequences and it was Saul who transformed the beginning of a movie into an art form. His innovation forever changed the movie watching experience, and Saul went on to produce sequences for more than 30 films during his career. Title sequences include North By Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), Spartacus (1960), Exodus (1960), Big (1988), The War of The Roses (1989), Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995). Movie posters include Carmen Jones (1954), Love In The Afternoon (1957), Anatomy Of A Murder (1957), West Side Story (1961) and The Shining (1980). Saul was also a prolific logo designer, having produced logos for some of the world’s best-known brands. Logos include AT&T, Exxon, United and Continental airlines, Minolta, Warner Books, Geffen Records and Girl Scouts of America. Saul was born in New York in 1920, grew up in the Bronx and studied at the Art Students League with Howard Trafton and at Brooklyn College with Gyorgy Kepes. He freelanced as a designer and art director in New York until 1946 when Buchanan & Co. sent Saul to their West Coast offices to direct art activities. In 1950 he joined Foote, Cone & Belding in Los Angeles. Two years later he started his own firm. Saul continued his involvement in graphic design and movies until the end of his life. The year before he passed away Saul produced the title sequence for Scorsese’s much acclaimed gangster film, Casino. Saul’s legacy is rich in history and pioneering techniques, and his work is widely taught to design students the world over. If Bass’ life and work could be summed up into a few words then the best are probably his own: “Design is thinking made visual.”