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Saul Bass

Saul Bass, a preeminent mid-twentieth-century American graphic designer, was known for his innovative corporate campaigns and title sequences for films. Bass’s lesser-known work for television included the cutting-edge but unaired opening credits for Playhouse 90, a bold title sequence for the NBC anthology series Profiles in Courage, and a dynamic promotional campaign for IBM.

Bass’s commercial for Baby Magic skin lotion was a minute-long exercise in restrained cinematic artistry, whose simplicity generated an intense emotional and visual impact. The commercial consists of a series of rapid, tightly framed shots of body parts—a baby’s hand, flexing feet, open mouth, and sleepy eyes, a mother’s smiling face, and her hands applying the product to the child.

 

Screen captures, Saul Bass’s Work for Television. Black-and-white 16mm and 35mm film: Saul Bass, designer and director, opening credits, Playhouse 90, CBS, 1956; Saul Bass, designer and director, “History of Invention,” IBM, 1962; Saul Bass, designer and director, opening credits, Profiles in Courage, NBC, 1964–1965

 

Saul Bass, designer and director, “Baby Magic,” Mennen, 1962

 

Saul Bass, designer, poster for Edge of the City, 1957. Offset lithography on paper