Sunday, May 20, 2007


The emergence of television and movies began to alter the role of the graphic designer in the 1950’s. One who was most prominent within this field at the time was American designer Saul Bass who designed sequences for movie titles. His designs were innovative using a variety of motion graphic animation.

Controversial at first, Bass' stark, symbolic images were used in both print and animated titles for films. His graphic style is disturbingly off-kilter and is distinct from the conventional, realistic images of the period. The designs relied on visuals, jagged typefaces and basic colors to create mood.

The film The Man with the Golden Arm (1959) was about the struggle of a jazz musician to overcome his heroin addiction. Bass’ title did not feature the famous Frank Sinatra as the symbol but rather he employed an animated black paper cutout of a heroin addict’s arm. As the arm itself was a thought provoking and startling symbol of addiction.

Saul Bass also collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock in 1958 with the title sequence for the film Vertigo. Bass shot an extreme close-up of a woman’s face and then her eye before spinning it into a sinister spiral as a bloody red soaks the screen.

1 comment:

cathy_campbell said...

cool...didn't know anything about him! love that poster!