Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design
by Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham, with an introduction by Martin Scorsese
Publisher: Laurence King Publishers
11.7 x 10.5 x 1.8 inches; 428 pp; Hardcover
Release date: November 9, 2011
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and MoMA Present Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design
as part of the MoMA’s Film Preservation Festival
Introduced by Kyle Cooper, Chip Kidd, Pat Kirkham
Monday, November 14, 2011, 7:00 p.m.
Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1
Saul Bass (1920-1996) is celebrated as one of the most significant designers of the twentieth century. A visual communicator with a storied career that lasted sixty years, Bass created numerous logo designs for well-known brands such as AT&T, Minolta, Continental, and United Airlines, just to name a few. Bass is perhaps most legendary for his work in the film world, having innovated a whole sub-genre within the realm of both design and cinema: the design of movie titles and title sequences. Bass, along with his wife, Elaine, with whom he often collaborated, created iconic titles for classic films ranging from Stanley Kubrick’s “Spartacus” to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” to Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas.”
A comprehensive book about Bass and his work entitled, Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design, is releasing this month, surprisingly for the first time ever, and it will certainly become an addition to many a designer or film enthusiast’s personal library. Featuring an introduction by film director Martin Scorsese, the book was designed by his daughter, Jennifer Bass, a graphic designer and artist, and written by design historian and personal friend of Bass, Pat Kirkham. Most likely due to the close relationships the book’s creators had with the late designer, A Life in Film & Design feels somewhat personal in its thorough recounting of Bass’s history, mindfully sectioning his evolution and accomplishments into seven chapters, spanning from his start as a teen in the Art Students League in Manhattan to innovator within the film industry and then into corporate and product design. Additionally, the book features over 1,400 images thoughtfully laid out, many of which have never been previously published, such as images of design work from when he was in high school to full screengrab image sequences of his movie title work.
In conjunction with the book’s release and as part of MoMA’s Film Preservation Festival, the MoMA will show Bass’s newly preserved Academy-Award ® winning documentary short, “Why Man Creates,” along with a screening of his title sequences. Introducing the screening will be the book’s author, Pat Kirkham, along with renowned book cover graphic designer and writer, Chip Kidd, and Kyle Cooper, another legendary graphic designer known for title sequences for films as recently as “X-Men: First Class” and “Se7en.”
Cover image courtesy of Laurence King Publishing