Classic Graphic Designers: Saul Bass

Louise Tamiazzo
3 min readJan 15, 2021


From logos to Films, Saul’s career has inspired and continuous to inspire many designers around the world.

Have you ever seen one of these movies?

Yes? So you have already seen Bass’s work. And, actually, he was the name who changed films forever.

Who was Saul Bass? And What is Saul Bass' style?

But let's go from the start: Saul Bass — born in 1920, New York— studied under a master of Bauhaus style of art, and he brought graphic design to another level. Of his own. The typography, shapes, the cut-paper style, colours and playful animations are inspiration to many until nowadays.

He also worked as a freelancer (hi!) and started his own business in 1952 called Bass & Associates. During his life, he created many important logos, and all of them had an unusual longevity: the average lifespan of a Saul Bass logo is a whopping 34 years.

If you wanted a simple, efficient and thoughtful logo, he was your guy. But in fact, logos form the lesser part of Bass’ artistic legacy

Movie Titles and Posters

In 1954 he was invited to create his first movie poster, for Carmen Jones. The filmmakers were so impressed that also invited him to design the entire movie credits. Until them, no one actually cared for movie titles. But thanks to Bass, it became a spectacle to be seen.

He revolutionised movie titles by using the time to not just display the information but to give a short visual metaphor or story that intrigued the viewer. Often times it was a synopsis or reference to the movie itself.

My favorite title from Bass: simple, intriguing and playful.

Often, a single dominant image stands alone to deliver a powerful message. These shapes, as well as type, were often hand-drawn by Bass to create a casual appearance, always packed with a sophisticated message. His ability to create such a powerful message with basic shapes makes the work even more impressive. He had a distinctive minimal style and introduced his signature “kinetic type”.

Saul worked with some of the biggest names in the film business including Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese.

His final projects before his death in 1996 were credits for four Martin Scorsese films: Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), The Age of Innocence (1993) and Casino (1995).

One of my favorite posters and titles are Vertigo and The Man with the Golden Arm. Bass’s work has inspired me in many school projects and real life jobs.

Which Designers Inspires You?

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Louise Tamiazzo

Creative Designer, Brand Strategist, Digital Gypsy, Backpacker, Dancer Wannabe, Playful Writer and Secret Agent. Nice to meet you!