Food for thought‘[...] do not think that good design can make a poor product good, whether the product be a machine, a building, a promotional brochure or a business man. But [...] good design can materially help make a good product reach its full potential. In short, [...] good design is good business.’
Thomas J. Watson Jr., IBM CEO

Bass Notes: The film posters of Saul Bass — Kemistry Gallery

February 27, 2011, 11:37 AM


Kemistry Galley has come up again with a great exhibition. Titled Bass Notes: The film posters of Saul Bass, it shows several works of the great Saul Bass — posters, storyboards and stills — which toured the world’s film festivals until his death, in 1996. Jim Northover writes how Lloyd Northover ‘inherited’ the exhibits:

A year or so after Saul’s death in 1996, I got a call from a headhunter in the States saying that she had a brief to find someone to take over the Saul Bass studio in Los Angeles. Herb Yager, Saul’s partner, no longer wanted to run it himself, but was keen for the business to continue. Since we had been looking to set up an office in the US, this seemed like a real opportunity. After Herb was reassured that he had found suitable inheritors, the business was acquired. We celebrated the event at a dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel with Herb, Elaine Bass (Saul’s widow) and some of the team.

A few months later we found we had inherited something else. A travelling exhibition of Saul’s film posters had been doing the rounds of film festivals all over the world. One day it arrived back in London. We had to store it and look after it. We soon realised it was too big and expensive a task to keep it properly, so we handed it on to the British Film Institute, requesting that it should not be lost from public view, and hopefully shown from time to time.

The posters on show, thanks to the BFI, are the very same ones that formed part of the travelling exhibit. They were produced by the Saul Bass studio in the 1990s to celebrate Saul’s work. Many air miles later these historic originals are now on show here.

There are 19 posters on show including: Anatomy of a Murder (1955), The Man with a Golden Arm (1955), Saint Joan, Bonjour Tristesse (1958), Vertigo (1958), Exodus (1960), Spartacus (1960), The Magnificent Seven (1960), and a selection of storyboards (the ones from Psycho being a real treat) and title sequences. The exhibition is on till March 17, open Mon–Sat 10.00–18.00, so if you’re in London, don’t miss it.

More photos after the jump (click on the images for larger size).

'Design is thought made visual' — Saul Bass

My favourites, especially the one for The Fixer:

and of course, the awesome storyboards for Hitchcock’s Psycho:

Thrilling storyboards for Hitchcock's Psycho (1960).

Details about Saul Bass and the exhibition:

And last but not least, a beautiful poster for the short movie ‘Why Man Creates’ (you can view it on Youtube — part one and part two):

Related links:
Eye mag wrote about the exhibition;
JohnsonBanks were also at the opening.

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