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Saul BassAnatomy of Film Design$
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Jan-Christopher Horak

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813147185

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813147185.001.0001

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Designer and Filmmaker

Designer and Filmmaker

Chapter:
(p.33) 1 Designer and Filmmaker
Source:
Saul Bass
Author(s):

Jan-Christopher Horak

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813147185.003.0002

Like many designers, Saul Bass was loath to discuss his work in a theoretical framework. He spent almost fifteen years working in studio publicity before founding his own design studio. In the mid-1940s Bass came under the spell of Bauhaus design aesthetics through books by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Gyorgy Kepes, translating their work into an American idiom for corporate design. Bass jettisoned much of Gestalt theory and adopted Bauhaus principles of clean, uncluttered design based on sans serif type and basic geometric shapes to communicate modernity to post–World War II consumers. Prior to Bass, Hollywood film advertising was no more than sophisticated ballyhoo. Bass pared down the cluttered look of most movie ads and created a distinct brand consisting of strong graphic elements, modern typography, geometric ordering of the two-dimensional space, a limited color palette (mostly primary colors or coordinated pastels), a simple iconographic element at the center, and a catalog of “house” images.

Keywords:   studio publicity, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Gyorgy Kepes, Gestalt theory, modern typography

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