There’s a Saul Bass tribute at MoMA in a few hours with the book’s author Pat Kirkham along with Kyle Cooper and Chip Kidd. Tickets for non-MoMA members are at the door so get there early.
Also, now would be a good time to point out that Universe will be re-issuing Saul Bass’s only (and nearly impossible to find) illustrated children’s book next February. Henri’s Walk to Paris, written by Lenore Klein, was released in 1962. I had a copy of the book for a few years, and found it so unenjoyable that I got rid of it. It struck me as being a failure as an illustrated storybook, and my ex-library copy confirmed that–it had rarely been checked out in decades.
It surprised me that I disliked the book as much as I did because Bass had a sense of humor (and his very able and funny collaborator Art Goodman worked on the book, too). But, the book’s illustrations are excessively formalized and austere (the curse of design for design’s sake), with none of the warmth, humor or vitality that the story required. Using minimalist graphics in a children’s book is a tricky task to begin with, but it’s possible to do it well. Graphic designer Paul Rand pulled it off more successfully in titles like Sparkle and Spin and Little 1. Or simply look to the master of super-stylized children’s book illustration, Abner Graboff. In spite of its shortcomings, if you’re a Bass fan, you’ll probably want a copy of the book, and now it’s easier to find than ever before.
(Thanks, Short of the Week for the video link)