Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Turning up some Bass

A small link on the amazing Coudal Partners site (where I could get lost for many happy hours) took me to a site collecting some of the design work of the great Saul Bass. Now, even if you've never heard of the great man, you almost certainly know his work from some of his iconic film posters...

Click for a bigger look, or follow the original link for more.

That site (Well Medicated) also included three amazing book covers Bass designed, for psychology textbooks.

Now, I had no idea Saul Bass had ever done book design, so I thought I'd see what other covers of his might be out there. The first one I turned up was this witty design for film director Otto Preminger's autobiography--Preminger being the director with whom Bass was most closely associated, and for whom he also designed a number of fantastic opening credits sequences.

This cover is exactly the sort of cover I love on an autobiography--it's a picture of the author, but not the conventional and boring studio shot 99% of such books use. It makes witty use of Preminger's famously bald bonce, and hints at the playfulness of the book's contents. (For lots of fascinating and funny Preminger anecdotes, head over here). Weirdly, Preminger also played Mr Freeze in the 1960s 'Batman' TV show.

Bass also created a children's picture book, Henri's Walk to Paris.

Lots of pictures of the interior artwork are available here.

Next we have a couple of Preminger-designed Penguins, adapted from his movie poster artwork: they're unusual in excluding the Penguin logo from the cover.

Then there's this cover for Print, the art and design annual.

I imagine there's more in this Japanese book covering his design firm's work, but I cannot find a copy I can afford...

..nor can I find a copy of this nifty book about Bass' art and life, a loving homage to his style by Elaine Lopez.

Now I think I might have to go and watch some of those opening title sequences again.


Ian Koviak said...

Who hasn't heard of Saul Bass?!!?

I really like the Psychology covers. So much went into those covers.

His work is for the most part recognizable, but obviously he was a versatile designer...

JRSM said...

Crazy people haven't heard of Saul Bass, that's who!