Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Saul Bass: 20th Century Design Icon

In honor of the 93rd birthday of the iconic designer Saul Bass (1920 - 1996), a new "Google Doodle" debuted today. This short film pays tribute to many of Mr. Bass' film designs: The Man with the Golden Arm, Vertigo, North By Northwest (my favorite — how can you do better than Cary Grant starring in this 1959 Hitchcock movie?!), West Side Story, Anatomy of a Murder, and Around the World in 80 Days (my dad Vic's favorite), among others. And turn the sound up — the jazz score is by Dave Brubeck.

Illustrator/designer Matthew Cruickshank created the short tribute film.

Mr. Bass was legendary in the graphic design profession — his client list boasted a "Who's Who" of Fortune 500 companies, and his Los Angeles firm won every major creative award. The office produced marketing communications and comprehensive corporate identities, print and environmental graphics (and airline graphics, too). This was the respected, successful practice designers dream about.

Mr. Bass also created brilliant film titles and posters in the 1950s and '60s — WAY before computer graphics and Photoshop. Some of his identities are below. Notice how many of them are round or rounded, and many appear to be dimensional, even though they are flat. All have strong, solid colors.

Saul Bass' corporate identities.
How many can you name?
(The answers are below if you get stuck!)

A Personal Recollection
I heard Mr. Bass speak once in person, at a 1993 AIGA seminar in Culver City, CA. He walked with a cane by then, but still had a commanding stage presence. I still remember how a fellow young designer seated near me stood up and asked Mr. Bass for a job at Bass/Yager & Associates. How bold! Mr. Bass' response was "Come over to my office and we'll talk." The young designer was dumbfounded.

I kept my notes from that roundtable discussion (which also included designers Jim Cross, Toni Hollander and Rod Dyer). Even after almost 20 years in the profession, I still consider myself a 'student of design.' We have much to learn from our predecessors — IF we take the time to listen.

Last week, as I was finishing the last "Savannah Smile" cookie of 2013, I noticed Mr. Bass's memorable green silhouette Girl Scout logo on the box. Girl Scouts have used this identity for decades because it still "works."

At Emilie Pallos Graphic Design, we respect and study the talented designers of the past. We also create meaningful, powerful creative design solutions for clients in a range of industries, from healthcare to the arts, for private businesses and non-profit organizations.

Contact Emilie to talk about your project:

Good design is good business.


Background information on the Saul Bass Google film is HERE.

Saul Bass logos (shown above)
From top left: Bell System, AT&T, General Foods, United Airlines, Avery International, Continental Airlines, Celanese, United Way, Rockwell International, Minolta, Girl Scouts of the USA, Lawry's Foods, Dixie, Quaker Oats, Frontier Airlines, Alcoa, Warner Communications, and Fuller Paints

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's a Skating Tooth!


One of our newest creative projects is an advertising campaign for a longtime dental practice client — the artwork above is now on view at the Pasadena Ice Skating Center in Pasadena, CA. Clients are Drs. Hillary Kim and Ray Kwok, DMDs, who own one of the best contemporary dental practices in the area. 

Original Art: Joanna

When a photo is just too ordinary, why not consider illustration? 

This fanciful tooth (we call her "Joanna," after the doctors' young daughter) leaps off the page to land her jump perfectly. The artwork captures the structure of a "tooth" in a fun, kid-friendly way. Joanna even sports a jaunty ponytail — just like the real girl!

Our talented artist colleague/friend Sandy McDaniel created the original illustration. Sandy can draw or paint just about anything which appeal to the most discerning clients. Little wonder, with a background working with Walt Disney Imagineering, Mattel and The Getty Center. Emilie handled art direction and typography for the project.

We're looking forward to incorporating the new "skating tooth" character into other promotional products for the practice. T-shirts, stickers and a prime spot on the practice's new website are on tap for Joanna.

Please contact Emilie to talk about YOUR next design and illustration project:

Websites / Marketing Communications / Illustration & Photography / Corporate Identity

Good design is good business.

Pencil sketch of skating tooth — she's cute in black and white!