The man who launched a million “minimalist movie posters” (try not to hold that against him), graphic designer Saul Bass may have spent most of his career advertising other people’s work, but in doing so he quietly became one of the most iconic pop artists of the 20th century. He didn’t work in the movies very often, but many of the posters and title sequences he created have grown to be as famous as the films for which he created them.
Directors were floored by Bass’ ability to distill a story down to its bare essence — how his thick black lines and bold swatches of color seduced and focused a viewer’s attention where other posters would simply try to overwhelm it — and legendary auteurs like Otto Preminger would fight the studios to protect Bass’ creative freedom. His style was so striking and influential that it was widely copied in his own time, and many of the posters that are still attributed to Bass were actually created by imitators (e.g. “West Side Story” and “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World”).
Please enjoy this gallery of every movie poster that Saul Bass ever designed, presented in chronological order.
Note: The spinning figures on the red “Vertigo” poster were actually drawn by Art Goodman, not Saul Bass.
Note: This poster was rejected after Coca-Cola threatened to sue for copyright infringement.
Note: The actual poster that Bass designed for “Very Happy Alexander” seems to have disappeared without a trace. The image pictured here is a mock-up that features the illustration Bass drew for the poster.
Bass maintains a deisgn credit on the poster for this Joe Camp film, though the piece is technically credited to “Saul Bass / Herb Yaeger & Associates.”