“Saul Bass. Before I ever met him, before we worked together, he was a legend in my eyes.” As introductions go, that’s a humdinger and a half, but coming from Martin Scorsese? It doesn’t get much better than that, and the iconic director goes on to say that his designs, “found and distilled the poetry of the modern, industrialized world.” Saul Bass is such a significant figure it would be hard to begin to do him justice in book form, but this mouthwatering 440-page opus by Saul’s daughter Jennifer and Patrick Kirkham is a worthy tribute to both the man and the legend.
When feasting on his graphic design, his film titles for Otto Preminger, Hitchcock and Scorsese, his logos for United Airlines, Quaker Oats or AT &T, it is crucial to unhook your modern sensibilities in which his style is so familiar and remind yourself over and over again that these were tropes established and popularised by Bass.
And though this is obviously a book that revels in the visual, it’s also beautifully written, full of Saul’s own thoughts and anecdotes about him allied with a genuine understanding of his place in cultural history.