The Definitive Saul Bass Book Has Arrived

Saul Bass book

Resistance is futile! Pat Kirkham’s long-overdue book about graphic design legend and motion picture title innovator Saul Bass is finally out. Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design is an epic 440 pages and includes nearly 1,500 illustrations. Designed by Bass’s daugher Jennifer Bass, the book is quite unbelievably the first major American retrospective of Bass’s work.

Bass had a long and infuential career in graphic and corporate identity design, but today he is perhaps best remembered for his groundbreaking motion picture titles, of which there are 70 examples in the book. To create those, Bass collaborated with many animators throughout his career, including Bill Melendez (It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World titles), Bill Hurtz (Around the World in 80 Days end titles), Fred Crippen (The Sale of Manhattan and Why Man Creates) and John Whitney, Sr. (Vertigo titles).

The book is $45 on Amazon.

Saul Bass book

Saul Bass book

Saul Bass book

Saul Bass book

Saul Bass book

Saul Bass book


  • Oliver

    Saul Bass’ title sequences, right up to his final work, ‘Casino’, were better than some directors’ whole movies.

  • http://www.miserbros.com Rick Goldschmidt

    The graphics are cool BUT they look too small on these sample pages!

  • E. Nygma

    I think they are small because most of them are showing sequences. It’s a happy medium to focus on the design and flow of the animation.

    I can’t believe Chronicle didn’t put this book out.

  • Stephen Worth Worth

    Aargh! Oceans of white space and postage stamp pictures! Horrible art book design strikes again!

    • http://www.segaltoons.com Steve Segal

      I agree with you, but Bass was an expert in the use of negative space, so perhaps the publisher was trying to honor that.

  • Peter H

    I think these are double-page spreads in the actual book, which seems to me to be a good size. But it is annoying that these tiny lo-res images are all the publishers have released to promote this book.

  • http://www.framesandpages.com Pat

    This book is pretty big, 7 pounds or so. Maybe see it before judging here. :)

    I might do a blog post soon about a conversation with the publisher.

  • Carl Russo

    I’d rather have all the Bass title sequences on a DVD set.

    • Gerard de Souza

      Well, there’s an idea. Hunt down his titles and rip them for ones own reference.

  • http://braveandboldbackgroundpaint.blogspot.com/ William Joseph Dunn

    I remember preordering that like, 3 years ago? I’m glad it’s finally here.

  • Joe Horne

    i’m on it…….overandout…

  • http://MrFun'sBlog Floyd Norman

    A lot of animation people worked with Mr. Bass over the years. He was actually a pretty brilliant film maker in his own right. We had the opportunity to hear Saul Bass speak back when I worked at Disney in the fifties.

  • http://andysonlinescrapbook.blogspot.com/ Andy Norton

    Bass is one of the quintessential designers in film history that must be appreciated in watching the films themselves, rather then complaining about the resolution of the publishers’ preview images.
    It looks like a well-researched book, that is destined for the coffee-tables for the serious film or design fanatics.

  • http://yoebooks.com Craig Yoe

    i’m excited! just in time to be the best book of the year!

  • http://www.suspended.tv james

    giddy up. purchased. you should get a percentage.

  • Jens

    I’ve received it a couple of days ago and it is a beautiful book.

    Although I agree with a previous comment. A lot of the stills from his sequences are pretty small and personally I feel some of the pages do not make the best use of space.

    Also (I don’t find this is a negative thing at all but it should be noted) the part where they talk about his title sequences is about 25% of the book. The other parts are branding, graphic design, his short films, his life etc.

    still a fantastic book, I am glad I got it

  • huston

    I ADORE Bass, but this book should have been SO much better. The graphics are miniscule and the text isn’t very informative. I expected a grand book with large original art, not just tiny clips from films.