New Year Makings

Hello! ^_^

Looks like this week's blog is arriving pretty late too. Oh well here's to trying to for deadlines but missing for want of inspiration. I have added to the little invitations project I was working on with a Pool Party and Seaside themed one (must be the time of year) to show today which brings the total up to 6/9, here's hoping next blog gets me over the line. I'd be pretty chuffed too since that would be the first of the six extra curricular tasks I promised I'd make myself do this year out of the way.  


So I wrote that around three-ish weeks ago?

I guess really there's been a bit more since then that's of interest, I got asked to create a flyer for a friend doing marketing for another business (every little job matters in case you're wondering why it warrants mentioning) and I have commenced designing another logo, my own logo continues to be held up by naming lag. I've been researching starting a small business, specifically with the goal of becoming a freelance graphic designer. I may do a separate post looking at the (from my perspective) quite large research task involved in establishing everything from whether your business name is registered already or trademarked, what personal service income is, what tax could or should I be paying, how much should I charge? Do I have a viable market? What is that market? How will I supplement my income if/when there is a dry period? How much money do I need to have available to start up (money that will be there when I inevitably stuff-up and have to absorb costs), how do I word my contract, how do you market yourself and on and on and on. 

I've heard researchers have found humans nearly always underestimate time requirements for tasks and under budget as a result. I bring this up because I feel a little like I've done that with this business thing, as fast as I read and research I find things I should already be doing or doing before the last thing I should already have done. *sighs*

I'm excited, pessimistic, anxious and hopeful all at the same time about this whole thing. It started with me experimentally trying to construct some kind of 'design portfolio' late last year partly out of real world necessity and partly because I'll be doing something similar for uni work this year, it was just a way to get a head start. But then I started thinking about the scarcity of design firms and branding positions and the likelihood of them hiring someone who was fresh out of university completely untested irl. It seemed incredibly unlikely I'd get a job in such a high competition environment so figured I'd get a head start on the next logical thing.

So yeah, that's what I've been up to, I have been doing things and I have also just been procrastinating on this update a little. Those are my motivations for trying to 'swim on my own' and so my thinking is that with each new blog update I'll look at a business question and discuss the answers and suggestions I found. I've already found a mountain of resources and if nothing else it'll help me remember some of it better by writing about it and who knows? Maybe someone will stumble across something useful in the ramblings of a baby graphic designer taking her first steps. :)


Alright on to the Summarised Designer!

In this post I'm looking at an older more widely recognised designer, I remembered the name Saul Bass being fairly high on the list of my tutors and lecturers whenever they brought up designers. Once I looked him up I recognised all those distinctive title sequences, in particular the ones for 'The Man with the Golden Arm' and 'It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World' stood out in my mind. So  this week we'll be looking at some of Saul Bass's work.

I've also continued to work on the logo design job for the friend, it has progressed further and I'm pleased with how it looks in the context of a business card. I can't wait to show off my work. :)

Name: Saul Bass

DOB/DOD: May 8 1920 - New York     April 26 1996 - Los Angeles

Geography: Worked primarily out of Los Angeles

Career/Education History: 
Saul Bass was reportedly creative from a young age, later he went on to study at the 'Art Students League' in New York and Brooklyn College where he was introduced to the Bauhaus style and Russian Constructivism (An art movement typified by bold stark designs that stem from a philosophy that is against autonomous art and leans towards one that emphasises art for society.) by a former colleague of Laszlo Maholy-Nagi.  

After graduation he went on to apprentice to a design firm in New York and then to work as a freelance graphic designer, eventually moving to Los Angeles where he felt he would be less creatively restricted. Bass opened his own studio in 1950 and worked mostly in advertising until he was offered the opportunity to design the movie poster for the 1954 movie 'Carmen Jones', this was positively received by the film's director Otto Preminger who then asked him to design the title sequence as well. Bass would go on to create the title sequences for a number of movies including West Side Story, Around the World in 80 Days (1956), Vertigo (1958) and Ocean's 11 (1960). This led to the creation of notable title sequences such as the opening to The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) and Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho' with Bass also contributing to the infamous Shower Scene.

Bass would later go onto fulfil a dream of directing a feature length film, 'Phase IV' (1974) though this was met with limited success. After this Saul returned to commercial graphic design which led to the creation of corporate logos for brands including United Airlines, Bell Telephone Stytems, AT&T, Girl Scouts and Quaker Oats as well as a number of Japanese brands. He was eventually persuaded to come back to title sequence design by creating one for Broadcast news and then went on to collaborate with Martin Scorsese in 1991 on the title sequence for 'Goodfellas' and later 'The Age of Innocence' and 'Casino' (1995).

Saul Bass died in 1996 of non Hodgkins lymphoma having radically changed not only title sequence design but the whole of graphic design with his distinctive 'jagged cut-out look' and bold colouring schemes. His influence can be seen in the closing sequence of a movie like 'The Incredibles' and the opening sequence of the T.V. Drama 'MadMen' which invoked the style and in the case of 'MadMen' specific imagery from Bass's iconic title sequences.

Examples of Work:


Movie Posters:

Opening Sequences by Saul Bass, a compilation by Ian Albinson: