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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King of Graphics
Find the common element among these things: _Psycho_; United Airlines; Quaker Oats; Dixie Cups; _Goodfellas_; the Girls Scouts of America. I picked a grab bag, and I could have included a lot more, to show how diverse the work of Saul Bass was; he did graphics, and more, for all of them. There is no bigger name in graphic design than Saul Bass, and now there is a...
Published on February 1, 2012 by R. Hardy

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40 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a credit to Mr Bass
A timely release about one of the great and influential designers of the last century and clearly Pat Kirkham has made this a scholarly work considering the amount of research involved. The title will most likely become the standard biography of Bass. Having said that I was disappointed to find the book had some editorial flaws in its presentation.

Millions...
Published on November 9, 2011 by Robin Benson


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40 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a credit to Mr Bass, November 9, 2011
This review is from: Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design (Hardcover)
A timely release about one of the great and influential designers of the last century and clearly Pat Kirkham has made this a scholarly work considering the amount of research involved. The title will most likely become the standard biography of Bass. Having said that I was disappointed to find the book had some editorial flaws in its presentation.

Millions of movie-goers are familiar with the stunning credits Bass created (sixty stills are included in a fold-out dateline in the back pages) from Carmen Jones in 1954 to Casino in 1995 and the book rightly devotes a large number of pages to credits and the marketing of these movies. My first disappointment is that a DVD was not included with the book. OK, I'll accept that this would involve a lot of extra work (and probably copyright fees to make the book even costlier) and it wasn't in the author's remit so the fall back position would be to show the credits in as much detail as possible: frame by frame to give the reader a feel of how Bass created these powerful opening movie statements. Unfortunately many of these credit stills throughout the book are treated more as individual images, in various sizes, rather than shown as a sequence of large thumbnails. Solana and Boneu's Uncredited: Graphic Design & Opening Titles in Movies [With DVD] book has a whole chapter on Bass credits and the pages work well. 'Anatomy of a murder' has thirty-two thumbnails, 'North by northwest' has twenty-four. In this book they get six and five.

Chapter six looks at the corporate work of Saul Bass and he worked for a lot of companies. The book's coverage is hardly comprehensive when this kind of design commission looks into every visual corner of a company. Mostly what is shown are a few samples: Fuller Paints gets five photos and a logo; Rockwell International three and a logo; Minolta two photos, two logos and five still thumbnails. These corporate pages throw up another disappointment I had with the book: presentation. Flick through the pages and it all looks clean and tidy but then start to read a chapter and I was aware of the large amounts of empty page space (working white as designers call it) where, as this is a book about a visual subject, images should be working much harder. These are pretty pages rather than practical pages that reveal the full potential of the images to the reader. A good example are two fold-outs showing sixteen logos to a page, actually they would have fitted easily on two pages but on four pages they should have been much larger without destroying the book's design integrity. A spread on AT&T (pages 330/331) has ten images and text that would easily fit on one page.

What I found absolutely fascinating were the fifteen pages of notes in the back pages. Predictably set in tiny type yet full of detail about Saul Bass, design and the design community he worked in.

The book's printing is excellent, a nice matt art for the 1484 images using an impressively fine screen (three hundred+) an embossed cover with the 'Bonjour tristesse' logo. 'Saul Bass' is certainly an interesting book but I thought the presentation didn't really display this wonderful designer's work to its full potential, especially his stunning movie credits.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King of Graphics, February 1, 2012
This review is from: Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design (Hardcover)
Find the common element among these things: _Psycho_; United Airlines; Quaker Oats; Dixie Cups; _Goodfellas_; the Girls Scouts of America. I picked a grab bag, and I could have included a lot more, to show how diverse the work of Saul Bass was; he did graphics, and more, for all of them. There is no bigger name in graphic design than Saul Bass, and now there is a gorgeous book, huge and colorful as befits his career, _Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design_ (Lawrence King Publishing) by his daughter Jennifer Bass, herself a graphic designer, and Pat Kirkham, who teaches decorative arts and design history. Flip through the 400 big pages here, and you are bound to find logos, posters, and movie title sequences you have seen many times; Bass's range and influence were astonishing. There is a bit of biography here, along with a relatively chronological summary of his work from his poster for his high school's open house through the poster for _Schindler's List_. The text is worth reading, and the authors have quoted generously from Bass's own thoughts on his life, work, methods, and output. As befits Bass's legacy, however, this is a picture book, and it is a treat for the eyes.

Bass grew tired of following formulas and "cramming as much illustration, type and hype as you possibly could into ads" in the early days, and eventually specified that he would not work on movie ads. In 1946, however, he realized he had to get out to Hollywood. Title sequences of the movies were conventional letters over conventional backgrounds, and sometimes theaters ran the initial credits over the curtain as it went up. Bass thought a film began at the first frame and deserved a mood-setting overture. His title sequences are famous for setting the tone of the film, and are among the best ever made, from the swirling Lissajous patterns of _Vertigo_ to the funny cartoons preceding _It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World_. Bass (and his wife Elaine, who gets much credit in this book for their joint efforts) had a "fade out" from making movie titles. He had a lot of corporate work to do, and was making his own documentaries and film essays (he also directed one feature film, _Phase IV_). He also found that directors were newly interested in using the title sequence themselves creatively, and perhaps this was a response to his own work. Nonetheless, he came back in the 1990s, working for among others Martin Scorsese (who writes the book's forward), for whom he did the admirable credits for _Goodfellas_, _Cape Fear_, _The Age of Innocence_, and _Casino_. Among the most interesting pages here are the reproductions of preparatory sketches leading to a final product. Bass would do perhaps 300 sketches for a single simple logo. Some of the pictures here show Bass getting ready to make a presentation of his logo work to a particular corporation - there are hundreds of alternative designs on the walls. Bass was a master of the presentation of the final design to corporate clients; he liked being "on stage," had excellent comedic timing and wit, and connected with each client individually. The presentation was the culmination of intensive work, starting with an analysis of what the company had done, its competitors, and its communication materials, and even enlisting market research. It is significant that Bass thought that one of the most interesting parts of his work was the interviews with one executive at a time. "I get to ask powerful and often interesting people about their work and their lives. It is in their heads that the real blueprint for the future exists or is being formed."

Bass was devoted to progressive causes, and did plenty of pro bono work; there are designs here for the ACLU, the Special Olympics, Boys Clubs, YWCA, and more. Bass had a devoted family, and people who worked for his firm remembered a dynamic, funny, intense man who loved his job. When they split off to make their own firms, he gave them his blessing - it was part of the creative process, and he had done the same thing himself. To see the many designs in this book is to appreciate that while his work was too diverse to have any one unifying esthetic, it was characterized by simplicity, distillation, and minimalism, and was always forceful because it was so concentrated. Revealingly, he was anxious with every new assignment; he told young designers that "the only difference experience made, he believed, was the knowledge that since one had managed to come up with good ideas in the past, there was good reason to believe it would happen again." He also said that considering present work is humbling "because no matter how much experience you have, the blank page is still terrifying." Maybe so, but he conquered any such fears countless times, with successes reproduced here on page after page of memorable, effective images.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting tribute to a great artist, January 17, 2014
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This review is from: Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design (Hardcover)
One might fear that a book about a great artist spearheaded by one of his offspring would be overly personal and perhaps too adulatory. This book is neither. While it does certainly pay homage to Bass--as it should, because he was a giant of design--I think it's fair to say that Jennifer Bass and Co. have paid impressive tribute in a book as elegantly and engagingly laid out and designed as much of her father's work. The truly fascinating part of this book for those of us who came to Saul Bass through his film credits is to discover his origins and his amazing body of work as a designer. He ranks just barely below Rand as a founding father of graphic design in the 20th century, and this book offers a wealth of examples of his successes both in marketing/advertising and as a filmmaker and titleist. (And carrying it around borders on a workout; it must weigh nearly ten pounds.)

The price tag may seem a little high, but trust me it's worth every penny.It's a beautiful book that will be fun for Bass' already knowledgeable fans, and informative (and fun) for those of us who perhaps did not already appreciate the important link between print and visual design in the 20th century and the important role this brilliant man played in bridging the two. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Design Genius!, August 2, 2014
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This review is from: Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design (Hardcover)
I had been reading a book about Alfred Hitchcock when I first heard the name "Saul Bass". A few years ago, I was reading about a movie called "Seconds" and there was that name "Saul Bass" again. Then I saw a small mention of this book in "Entertainment Weekly" and just had to get it. It took me a while to get to it because I have a tendency to buy more books than I read, but this year, I made it my goal to read this book and I just finished it! Great big colorful pictures make this book an easy read and a joy to read! I knew about Saul and the movies but was shocked to read about all of the famous corporate logos that he designed. Just when I thought that he couldn't do anything else, I read about the gas stations that he designed. What a remarkable guy and with his wife, what a remarkable design team!! I was so impressed with Saul Bass that I gave a speech about him at Toastmasters so others could hear and learn about this creative genius!! This book is worth the money. It's more than pictures of designs. It's learning the creative process and what the designs mean. I will never look at those logos the same now that I know their meaning. And this is an inspiring book about the results of working hard and being persistent. So glad that Saul's daughter made this wonderful tribute to her Dad!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular book about an iconic designer, November 8, 2011
This review is from: Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design (Hardcover)
This book is pure joy- a sumptuous and fascinating look at one of the most important designers and filmmakers of the 20th century, chock-full of bold, beautiful images. If one reads past the first chapter, which is about Mr. Bass' early life and sets the stage for the rest of the book, there is a depth of writing about his creative process, woven throughout with personal stories and anecdotes about the work in his own voice. The gatefolds displaying his film work and extensive corporate identity designs are an added treat. This book is destined to become a classic.
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26 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as great as it should have been, November 6, 2011
By 
HH (Sherman Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design (Hardcover)
A WHOLE lot of text, not very many photos, and most of them are tiny. For the price of the book, one would expect a beautiful expose of the amazing art of Bass, instead we get art that needs a magnifying glass, and text that delves more into his life than his art. Pity.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Told Story, November 9, 2011
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This review is from: Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design (Hardcover)
The one and only monograph on the prolific image maker. From revolutionary title sequences to groundbreaking print design to experimental short films, this is the comprehensive source. Beautifully paced and balanced across 1400+ images in 424 pages. Some pages are stark, allowing the work to breathe and the viewer to focus. Some pages show a calculated edit of images, that tell a longer story. From start to finish, this is a beautifully told story.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait..., November 10, 2011
This review is from: Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design (Hardcover)
From the iconic cover image to the unique illustrated footnotes, Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design is a real design treat. Luxuriously paced to give the reader time to enter and enjoy each beautifully printed image. At 1400+ images this could become tiresome and over-saturated but I found it easy to lose myself in each of Bass's designs. Saul's stories and insights are scattered throughout. His voice and his work are presented in a way that would make him proud.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saul Bass, January 30, 2012
This review is from: Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design (Hardcover)
The only book on one of America's great designers. Complete and a gift to all of us that held, and still hold Saul Bass in high esteem. His complete range of work is on display in this BIG, THICK book. Highly recommended!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I've been waiting for this for years, November 14, 2013
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This review is from: Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design (Hardcover)
Elegant as its subject and a terrific overview of his career. For me, it falls just short of a 5 star rating because in the movie
section devoted to Bass, it omits some of the rarest trade ads he designed for such movies as ONE TWO THREE, THE
LOUDEST WHISPER aka THE CHILDREN'S HOUR, and NINE HOURS TO RAMA--along with various movie trade ads he
did for SOME LIKE IT HOT, ATTACK, and others. Also, I wish there were more about Bass's inner-workings with directors
like Billy Wilder, Otto Premenger, Alfred Hitchcock, John Frankenheimer, etc.
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Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design
Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design by Pat Kirkham (Hardcover - November 9, 2011)
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