My next wish list item is the new Saul Bass book about his life in graphic design. Find it at Amazon here. You may remember his work from such classic movie title sequences as “Vertigo” and “Goodfellas,” among many many others. Here’s a bit about him on his 1981 AIGA Medal page.
I think what I have always found most inspiring about Saul Bass is his ability to communicate a complex message through very simple design. The simplicity of his designs leaves a bit of mystery and encourages the viewer to further explore the subject, as is the intent of good visual branding. The simplicity is also what makes his message so clear. There is something to be said for just a few lines, shapes and colors doing all the work – far less for the eye and mind to decipher.
A long time Girl Scout, I have always appreciated the logo that he created for the Scouts in 1978, that stands basically unchanged since then. I view the logo as the message of girls coming together in the Girl Scout tradition. Three girl profiles and the ubiquitous Girl Scout trefoil in Girl Scout green. The trefoil shape is easily identified by non-Scouts as the reminder of the Girl Scout Cookie and by Scouts as the visual mark of the three parts of the Girl Scout Promise. It’s simplicity and clear message is what has made it timeless. Not every logo out there is going to hold up for more than 30 years.
P.S. The NY Times had a nice article on Sunday about the release of the new Saul Bass book here.