Saul Bass: The Name Behind the Titles
He changed the game, and opening credits were never the same.
To put it succinctly, before Saul Bass came along, movie titles were just boring. Bass was a graphic designer who worked on movie posters and branding, and he saw a missed opportunity in the — until that point — purely functional aesthetics of opening credits (which, as you know, display a movie's title, its main cast, the producers, major crew, and casting director, among other information). He thought that these brief interludes before the movie’s first sequence could be used to set the tone for the audience, and the rest is history. From West Side Story and The Seven Year Itch to Vertigo, The Man with the Golden Arm, and tons more, Bass created truly artful title sequences using artful lines, idiosyncratic fonts, and even photographic elements. In essence, he developed a style that would be remembered and emulated for decades to come (see designer Maurice Binder's Bass-ian title sequence for Charade as a notable example). This video showcases some of Bass's best work and traces the lasting impact of his innovations. The next time you see a movie with truly awesome titles, you'll know who you have to thank for it!