Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saul Bass

A brief addition to Adam's earlier discussion on art and my response which didn't really speak to his question, but ah well.

In my comment I mentioned commercial art. Saul Bass is one of the great designers of the last century, wiki him, but in short he did everything from title sequences for Hitchcock to the Girl Scout logo. I first learned about him at an exhibit at the Design Museum in London. An underrated little museum on the south bank of the Thames.

So is what Bass did art? Yes and know. His movie posters and title sequences are certainly art. In essence making short films within films. Are title sequences necessary to films? No - see the work of Woody Allen, but when you have them and they are of the quality of those by Bass, they both add to the whole and can also stand alone.

But what about his logos? This is tougher. I think there's something to be said about how a good logo is an effective communication of an idea and a powerful representation of commerce, but it's not art any more than putting your company name in Helvetica on the company stationary is art. He's still a great logo designer and I'm sure his talent with this influenced his other work, but it's more commerce than it is art.

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