Artist Saul bass

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					Kim O’Hagan                                       Artist: Saul Bass

“The Broken sword of Saint Joan, the outstretched hands to freedom in EXODUS, the
simple lines that recall the fire escape in WEST SIDE STORY. One movie reduced to a
single image. These images are the distilled genius of Bass”
   - Joe Kocher, “American Design”

          Saul Bass, Anatomy of a Murder, Movie poster.

       Saul Bass was an American Graphic designer and filmmaker who’s most

prominent work occurred during the 1950s. His contributions to film posters were

among some of the most important of the 20th century. For the first fifty years or so

of American film, movie posters were either paintings or images movie stars. Saul

Bass changed all this by designing films posters with broken type, and simple, crude

imagery. He captured the essence of a film usually with only one simple image and

a title. His peers valued his visual opinion so much that in some of the films he

worked as, not only a graphic designer but also a “Visual Consultant”. One of his

most infamous works was his storyboard illustration of the shower scene in

“Psycho”. He got into the world of film making when he worked with such famous
directors as Alfred Hitchcock and Otto Preminger. He designed opening credit

sequences for films that gave audiences a change from the ordinary boring text

credits. One of his most famous of these being the opening credits for the film

Vertigo. His film poster designs remained popular into the mid sixties. In the late

sixties he began to work with corporate logo design with his firm, Saul Bass and

Associates. He designed logos for companies such as, united Airlines, AT&T and

Quaker. His influence on graphic design is still apparent today in not only film

posters but through the simplicity of corporate logo design we see today.

       The image I chose of his was “The Anatomy of Murder, Film Poster”. The

movie was made in 1959. It was directed by Otto Preminger and the star of the film

was Jimmy Stewart. I chose this graphic design because I already knew that this film

was shot in and about the Upper Peninsula but I wanted to learn more. Originally I

was intrigued by this image because of its simplicity. The simple hue structure used

along with the block-like forms are visually appealing to me. As I learned more I

now have and appreciation for its originality during its time. Historically speaking

all of Saul Bass’ film posters are the first of their kind. Saul Bass was the first person

to take a different approach to film poster design. Most other artist, hired to do this

job, would have put a picture of Jimmy Stewart, the leading actor of the film, on the

poster. By taking a simple approach to both the color scheme and the imagery he

captured peoples imagination. Economically speaking he gave a different image to

American films of the time. By visually changing the advertising of films he played

an important role in stimulating revenue for the film industry.

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