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Saul Bass: The Shining poster, final (crop)

Work / Graphic Design

Saul Bass’ rejected designs for The Shining, with notes from Kubrick

It’s a rare treat to see rejected designs at the best of times, those glimpses at the inner workings of the projects we love and what the client and designer really think. When that client is Stanley Kubrick, and the designer is Saul Bass, it’s just brilliant. While we’re a bit late to the party on this, we had to share these images of Bass’ rejected designs for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, found on cinema website The Film Stage. The images were taken by Bobby Solomon, and capture the essence of the exchange between Kubrick and Bass tantalisingly. “Hard to read, even at this size,” scrawls Kubrick on one. “Hotel looks too sprawling,” and “not compact enough” he bemoans on the other, cementing his status as a true auteur. It’s like overhearing a conversation between two real masters of their craft, and my God we’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall for those “make the logo bigger” style conversations.

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Saul Bass: Rejected design for The Shining poster. Photograph by Bobby Solomon.

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Saul Bass: Rejected design for The Shining poster. Photograph by Bobby Solomon.

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Saul Bass: Rejected design for The Shining poster. Photograph by Bobby Solomon.

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Saul Bass: Rejected design for The Shining poster. Photograph by Bobby Solomon.

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Letter. Photograph by Bobby Solomon.

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Saul Bass: The Shining poster