Yesterday, I saw some film poster art work – it was this Bonjour Tristesse poster – by Saul Bass, or, maybe, one of his many imitators. There is a world of poster art in Saul-Bass-Style and for good reason.
I do have a soft spot for poster art as, at its best, it is a succinct, often witty, visual illustration of a lot of powerful words, encapsulating the ethos of ‘one picture is better than a thousand words’ if you’re wanting an immediate impact. I am, however, not an expert in the oeuvre, far from it, in fact. But, I know how to Google … don’t we all, dahlings?
My search took me to Amazon and a book, Saul Bass: A Life In Film And Design, which is winging its’ way to me right now. Cannot. Wait.
Should you be interested, Amazon describe the book as:
... the first book to be published on one of the greatest American designers of the 20th Century, who was as famous for his work in film as for his corporate identity and graphic work. With more than 1,400 illustrations, many of them never published before and written by the leading design historian Pat Kirkham, this is the definitive study that design and film enthusiasts have been eagerly anticipating.
Saul Bass (1920-1996) created some of the most compelling images of American postwar visual culture. Having extended the remit of graphic design to include film titles, he went on to transform the genre. His best known works include a series of unforgettable posters and title sequences for films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Otto Preminger’s The Man With The Golden Arm and Anatomy of a Murder.
He also created some of the most famous logos and corporate identity campaigns of the century, including those for major companies such as AT&T, Quaker Oats, United Airlines and Minolta.
His wife and collaborator, Elaine, joined the Bass office in the late 1950s. Together they created an impressive series of award-winning short films, including the Oscarwinning Why Man Creates, as well as an equally impressive series of film titles, ranging from Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus in the early 1960s to Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear and Casino in the 1990s.
Designed by Jennifer Bass, Saul Bass’ daughter and written by distinguished design historian Pat Kirkham, who knew Saul Bass personally, this book is full of images from the Bass archive, providing an in-depth account of one of the leading graphic artists of the 20th century.
If you like what you see, do explore further. Unsurprisingly, there is a lot to be found across the net.
On a more practical level, I am thinking how good some of these posters would look on the very high walls of my new studio space … 🖤