Book of the Year: Saul Bass

by Fred Showker


BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BOOK OF THE YEAR for graphic designers is a tough thing to live up to. Phil Meggs, Alex White, Steven Heller, all worthy authors in the design community. We've had at least a few of the "greats" honor the pages of DTG Design Bookshelf - Seymour Chwast, Milton Glaser, Andy Warhol, David Lance Goines -- and now I take great pleasure in adding another of the all-time greats, SAUL BASS.

Saul Bass

Born in New York City in 1920, Saul Bass was known as one of the best graphic designers for film, as he has created the credits and title sequences of over 60 films. Unfortunately, Saul died in 1996. But thanks to daughter Jennifer, and collaborator Pat Kirkham, the ultimate treasure of Saul is now preserved in a monumental hardcover book.

Alfred Hitchcock

This book is a joy to hold and a true thrill to delve into. Excellent printing with ultra fine litho, on nice matt paper brings you 1484 images to quench your creative thirst.

Thanks to his collaborations with the great directors Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Martin Scorsese, Bass (1920-1996) earned the title of the undisputed master of film title design. Someone said that once you see the opening titles to a film that Saul Bass has done, you can walk out of the theatre because you know exactly what the film's about: he has shown you the entire thing in the first minute or so. Unfortunately you cannot see these titles in motion. It's a book. But they are presented in series to clearly give you the impact of their design. Bass single-handedly revolutionized the art of title design for movies. He also added 'title design' to the role "graphic design" and introduced yet another channel for the graphic design profession.

Saul Bass

For me however, Saul holds a high chair in the realm of graphic design. As one of the great graphic designers of the mid-20th century, much of his work is still in use to this very day. Working as an identity designer, he created designs for some of the strongest and most important brands. Few people on the planet do not know AT&T, 1984; United Airlines, 1973; Avery International, 1990; Continental Airlines, 1968; United Way, 1972; Minolta, 1978; Girl Scouts, 1978; Quaker Oats, 1971; Kleenex; Dixie, 1969; Warner Communications, 1972 -- and the list goes on and on! (Click for a better look at the logos)

Designed by Jennifer Bass, Saul Bass's 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.

United Airlines

This book is simply thrilling. For anyone involved in visual communications or the creative art disciplines, the book is mandatory! You will thoroughly enjoy, and benefit from every moment you spend with the book -- chances are, it will become a treasured addition to your bookshelf. And when I'm gone, my son (an industrial designer) will enjoy it and treasure it as much as I have.


quoting ...the first major book on his work....the book paints an engaging picture of Bass as a vigorous, highly disciplined man with a gift for friendship and sense of fun. end quote

Buy now: Saul Bass

BOOK OF THE YEAR Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham
Hardcover: 428 pages, 11.7 x 10.6 x 1.7 inches
Published by Laurence King Publishers (November 9, 2011)
full size image : Lowry's product spread
Saul Bass title sequence - Ocean's Eleven (1960) YouTube Video
Saul Bass: On Making Money vs Quality Work
Saul Bass- Advice to Design Students
Saul Bass: 20 Outstanding Los Angeles Designers, 1986 Commentary
'Edifice Sequence' from Saul Bass' Why Man Creates

Please don't wait. We have no idea how long this book will be in print! If you love fine books, and enjoy stimulating visuals and world-class design, you'll want this book in your collection. There will never be another Saul Bass. That's why this book is important, and why it earns our BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR 2011 for graphic designers! Don't wait.

thanks for reading

Fred Showker

Jennifer Bass is a graphic designer and artist. She has worked at CBS Television in New York and at Sussman/Prejza & Company in Los Angeles. In 1994, she and her husband, Lance Glover, opened their studio, Treehouse Design Partnership in Los Angeles, working in the areas of environmental graphics, identity and book design.

Pat Kirkham is Professor in the History of Design, Decorative Arts and Culture at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design & Culture, New York. She has written and edited a number of books, including Charles and Ray Eames (1998) and Women Designers in the USA 1900-2000 (2001).

Don't forget ... we encourage you to share your discoveries with other readers. Just send and email, contribute your own article, join the Design Cafe forums, or follow DTG on Facebook!

30th Anniversary for DTG Magazine