Logo Design Love

on logos and brand identity design

All about Saul Bass

Saul Bass
Saul Bass photo credit: Harrie Verstappen

An ode to graphic designer and filmmaker, Saul Bass.

Saul Bass (May 8, 1920 – April 25, 1996) was a graphic designer and Academy Award-winning filmmaker. Although an excellent logo designer, he is best known for his design on animated motion picture title sequences, which is thought of as the best such work ever seen.

During his 40-year career he worked for some of Hollywood’s greatest filmmakers, including most notably Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. Amongst his most famous title sequences are the animated paper cut-out of a heroin addict’s arm for Preminger’s The Man with the Golden Arm, and the text racing up and down what eventually becomes a high-angle shot of the United Nations building in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest.

Saul Bass logos

AT&T Bell System
Designed in 1983

AT&T logo by Saul Bass

Saul Bass designed the 6th AT&T Bell System logo, that at one point achieved a 93 percent recognition rate in the United States. He also designed the AT&T “globe” logo for AT&T after the break up of the Bell System (previous 1969 Bell logo shown below).

bell logo by Saul Bass

Designed in 1971

Quaker logo by Saul Bass

Konika Minolta
Designed in 1978 (new logotype designed in 2003 by Konika Minolta)

Minolta logo by Saul Bass

More about Saul Bass

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities, second edition

21 appreciated comments

  1. Saul is a genius. I also love his poster designs for Otto Preminger’s films. Both ‘Bunny Lake is Missing’ and ‘Anatomy of a Murder’.

  2. If there is a designer in the world who would go well with an entire museum dedicated to his work; Saul Bass top my list.

  3. What i find interesting is that most of his logos follow round geometric patterns, mainly circular. When he used lettering such as in the Kleenex logo, he still used a very round font. Then comes the Exxon logo and it truly breaks all these rules. It is truly fascinating that so many worldwide known logos that are with us today were designed by the same man – not company – man !

  4. I agree Peter. Saul is a genius…right up there along with Paul Rand.

  5. Roberta: Paul Rand is also great. Love that UPS logo. I also like Milton Glaser, Abram Games, & Alan Fletcher.

  6. I loved his movie work. His logo work is timeless. That is how good his work was

  7. Saul Bass was a remarkable designer, I had the privilege of working for him for two years. He employed many talented designers over the years who contributed to the creative success of the firm. Saul Bass/Herb Yager & Associate designed the Exxon service station but Raymond Loewy designed the Exxon logo.

  8. Peter, those poster designs are great.

    Gregory, definitely up there in my list of all-time designers.

    Justin, if you’ve subscribed to comments you’ll have read that Raymond Loewy designed the Exxon logo.

    Jerry, I noticed the Exxon logo looking out-of-place on the first ‘further resources’ link.

  9. You know, I’ve never known that Bass was the designer of the Minolta logo. However, you have to wonder if such a logo was designed today, surely whoever designed it would be accused of imitating the AT&T logo.

    Yes, I realise that Bass designed that too (and after the Minolta logo), but again, in today’s world, I believe he’d probably come under a lot of scrutiny for designing two quite similar logos. Just a thought.

  10. Bass has always been one of my favorite designers. His movie titles were brilliant!

  11. He’s still a huge influence… just check the poster for the new Coen Bros. film ‘Burn After Reading’

  12. Studied Saul bass at school when doing Hitchcock, very clever chappy indeed.

  13. The fanciful “L” on Lawry’s foods brands is A Saul Bass design.

  14. Wynn Hammer

    I would like to inform you that a cameraman, Paul Stoleroff, working for National Screen Service solved for Saul Bass the problem as how to film his first main title Carmen Jones. Bass and Stoleroff came up with the flickering flame. It worked so well that Saul Bass came to Paul often. I watched over their shoulders the making of Man With the Golden Arm.

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