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Saul Bass collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: CSC-0086

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of materials designed by American graphic designer and film maker Saul Bass including posters and movie title sequences. Mr. Bass is especially known for the logos created for United Airlines and Esso as well as his movie work on Schindler's List and The Man with the Golden Arm.


  • Creation: 1954-1996


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Saul Bass (1920-1996) enjoyed a storied career as a graphic designer, whose corporate identity work for companies such as AT&T, Bell Telephone, Esso, and United Airlines provided them with some of the most memorable brand recognition of the 20th century. His film titling work and poster design for Hollywood's greatest studios and directors, however, earned Bass a unique place in American graphic arts.

Born in The Bronx, Bass's passion for drawing and illustration appeared early in life, and he studied at both the famous Art Students League and at Brooklyn College where he came under the influence of Gyorgy Kepes and the full sweep of Russian Constructivist typography and Bauhaus design theory. Though he found some opportunities in New York as a freelance graphic artist, his greatest success came after moving to Los Angeles in 1946. His major breakthrough came by way of a commission from the film director Otto Preminger who asked him to design the titling sequences for "Carmen Jones". Bass transformed an otherwise tedious but necessary preamble to the movie into an exciting, anticipatory experience for theatre viewers. More commissions from other directors soon followed, including Billy Wilder (The Seven Year Itch) and Robert Aldrich (The Big Knife). Then came the film that firmly established his reputation, Preminger's The Man with the Golden Arm, with its still dazzling sequences and memorable cutout image of the addict's arm. Other famous films bearing Bass's edgy and graphically arresting touch included Hitchcock's Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Psycho; Kubrick's Spartacus and The Shining; Scorsese's Goodfellas and Casino; and Speilberg's Schindler's List. Though Bass claimed to have directed Janet Leigh's shower scene sequence in Psycho, most sources credit him only with helping to prepare the storyboards.

Herb Yaeger was his former partner in Bass/Yaeger.


3.5 Linear Feet (1 Banker Box Map Case Drawer (posters))




The Saul Bass collection consists of ninety posters designed by Mr. Bass and several VHS tapes containing movie title sequences created by the designer. He created much of the work inconjunction with his business partner Herb Yaeger.

Physical Location

Graphic Design Archives, Cary Collection Annex

Other Finding Aids

This collection is still in process. Please contact Cary Graphic Design Archives for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Herb Yaeger in 2003. Accession number(s): 2003:001

Processing Information

Finding aid encoded by Lisa Witt, September 2015.

Saul Bass collection
Cary Graphic Design Archives
Lisa Witt
30 September 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection Repository

Rochester NY 14623 US
(585) 475-2408