When you embark on your morning internet queries today you may notice the option to press play where the traditional Google symbol usually lies. That is because the always festive Google doodle is honoring Saul Bass, the iconic American graphic designer who punctuated film titles with raw images and fragmented text. The design visionary would turn 93 if he were still alive today.
Bass, who was born and raised in the Bronx, moved to Hollywood in his twenties to pursue creating film ads. For his first big gig, designing the opening sequence for Otto Preminger's "The Man with the Golden Arm," Bass shocked filmgoers with his edgy paper-animated interpretation of the film's themes of drug addiction. Soon Hollywood's greatest filmmakers were clamoring for Bass' innovative touch.
Bass, whose motto was "symbolize and summarize," incorporated 1920s Soviet design into his aesthetics, adding a distinctly American flavor and a predilection for jagged edges. Alfred Hitchcock was one of Bass' most devoted clientele, with the designer's quizzical emblems becoming almost synonymous with Hitchcock's twisted plot lines. The whirling op-art that first disorients viewers in "Vertigo," as well as the infamous "Psycho" storyboard, would not have existed if it were not for Bass' design-savvy edge.
Today we're celebrating the late designer and expressing endless gratitude for his unique combinations of poetry and advertising. Happy birthday, Saul Bass, a true visionary of modern cinema! Also, kudos to Google, this is one of your best doodles yet!