Analysis of Saul Bass

Personally observing Bass’ work I do think many of his works were in alignment with that he thought he was going to achieve by the end of them- the deeper sense of fulfilment from the film, but I can’t agree to the majority of his work, and maybe it’s being in a very technologically advanced era that I expect leaps and bounds better outcomes and so I don’t find his work to have the effect on me as it may have had back when it was the most significant improvement to title sequences ever. It is an interesting way to present a film though; I think the concept of it could be entertaining, but completely unnecessary and kind of a waste of time, even though some might argue that it adds to the film like Bass would I imagine in most cases that veering from animation to live action can distort your perception of immersion since animation isn’t real it could remind you neither is the film.

A constant theme that Saul Bass kept returning to was his geometric cut-outs with a bold, limited colour palette, this made it so that whatever his work was going to be people could place a name on the art work due to it preservation spanning years of work and praise for the revolutionary technique. Another remaining theme maintained in Bass’ work was his need to make the work say something and not just show off that he could use graphics, so every poster he made and every title sequence was designed to evoke a feeling out of the audience subjected to it, this made it so the viewer has a better rapport to what they were going to watch and so take it more emotionally than if they didn’t watch, or see it.

Saul Bass believed the intention to a poster, or title sequence should be to describe the film in a visual way which the audience can begin to have an understanding of its themes in order to establish an early emotional resonance so the film can have an even greater effect on the viewer. And this is exactly what happened, people gave the film more attention and Bass even held their attention span when his optical techniques went on for several minutes; this is a clear indication (dated now) that people want something bite size to ease them into the world of the film to making the suspension of disbelief more believable and enjoyable as people came to be quite fond of Bass’ work, even today.

On a personal note of Bass’ work, I really don’t like it, I think it could be done better, the design of it could anyway since he worked with everything that existed at the time to help him, but the quality is still not great at its peak in execution I recon. It’s worth mentioning my type of art isn’t minimalist, and that level of abstract, I like meticulous details and maybe some controlled abstract at times, but the work must be a precise piece. I prefer artists like Carne Griffiths, Ken Taylor, Lauren Marx and Hester Tatnell, so Bass’s work being hugely the opposite these might have something to do with my liking of it. I do agree with his philosophy for posters and title sequences though, the animation area just isn’t for me. Once other designers began using Bass’s animation technique with evolved technologies the animations actually became very interesting with all the added detail, colour, smoother transitions and had real appeal to look at, for example the ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ animation, the ‘Resistance 3’ animation, the ‘Catch Me If You Can’ animation and the ‘Irrational Bowl Syndrome’ animation, they all had Saul Bass in mind judging from the style of animation, but developed to a professional standard with new technologies allowing you to fully let it sink in easily, unlike what I thought of Saul Bass’ work being too rough and sometimes out of place.

In conclusion though Bass’ work with graphic design and motion graphics wasn’t my tastes I can appreciate that he tried to do. He managed to successfully win over many people with his ideology put to work and made the watching experience of films something more. And he was a revolutionist that inspired many graphics to evolve to a very professional standard without which these advancement couldn’t have been made as soon as they were.


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