Saul BassAnatomy of Film Design

Saul BassAnatomy of Film Design

Jan-Christopher Horak

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780813147185

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky

Abstract

Saul Bass defined an era. He designed movie posters, studio publicity, credit sequences for films, and corporate logos from the 1940s to the 1990s, and he was an Academy Award–winning filmmaker. As a result, Bass changed the look of both film advertising and cinema itself. Bass’s advertising, poster designs, and title sequences for Hollywood feature films were extremely innovative in terms of their formal design, use of iconography, and narrative content. All his film-related work incorporated aesthetic concepts borrowed from European modernist art and avant-garde cinema, creating a new, Americanized commercial mode of address and thereby transforming conventions that had remained relatively stagnant for decades. Inserting himself directly into the Hollywood film production process, Bass necessarily complicated the conception of film authorship, especially because his titles designs were often discussed independently from the films they introduced. Bass influenced not only other studio publicity designers and filmmakers but also a whole generation of young designers, many of whom he personally trained in his studio.