Although Saul Bass is typically viewed as modern design’s urban sophisticate with his simple, savvy titles, he wasn’t afraid to put on his cowboy hat when he had to…
Okay, I’ve finally gotten through the 415-page blockbuster book, Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design by Pat Kirkham and Jennifer Bass (Saul’s daughter) — and my eyeballs hurt. Wow, what a visual feast! Part biography, part loving tribute, this tomé features over 1,400 illustrations, spanning Bass’s iconic career in movies and corporate identity/commercial logos. It’s almost unthinkable what the 1950’s-1970’s would’ve looked like without Bass’s clean, colorful logos decorating everything from cereal boxes to 747’s.
Although the career highlights of Mr. Bass have been well-documented in Art of the Title and Movie Titles, this publication uncovers many lesser-known tidbits about the modern master, including how his Walk on the Wild Side titles influenced a young Stevie Spielberg to do an 8mm film with his diva dog, Thunder, as well as Bass’s work on such late 1980’s pictures as Broadcast News, Big, and Mr. Saturday Night.
The book also clarifies the vitally important contributions of Saul’s accomplished wife, Elaine. Much like the Eames’s close-knit relationship, Elaine Bass took over production on the title sequence for Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus (1960) and their cool collaborations continued on with Otto Preminger, Alfred Hitchcock, and Martin Scorsese (their Casino titles no doubt inspired the Mad Men intro), all the way up to Saul Bass’s death in 1996.