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Alona Elkayam Headshot

Icon of The Day: Saul Bass

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It was the late '90s. I had a design degree, fire in my belly, and it was my time to revolutionize design and do as Saul Bass and Milton Glaser had done. I wanted to be like them, think like them, and reflect our time the way they did. So I thought about ways I could revolutionize our world through design.

How about reinventing airport signage or urban design? New York City could be more cohesive, I thought, if each hot dog stand (there were thousands) each had a well designed poster to communicate their offerings. I did the math, but the city didn't bite. And there began my fascination with poster design.

Poster Design, a platform where designers were able to wield their most powerful skills of minimalism, typography, color, composition on a mass canvas. It was a beautiful medium introduced to me by my teachers at design school (Dr. Graham + C. Story), but there were no posters made since I was going to movies (with the exception of maybeShowgirls,1995; Fargo,1996) that I'd wanted to hang on my wall. Ché Brandinista thought, "I will bring back poster design. I will bring movie branding to the forefront."

In 2004, I went to L.A. to meet with the head of the Universal Studios design department to discuss my idea and my role. She explained how the branding of movies worked in detail and how movie branding was an afterthought now. I took my portfolio, rejected, and flew back to New York.

The era of Saul Bass movie branding has yet to be surpassed, with the exception of the 2010 Catfish poster-which I would hang on my wall, unframed.

Happy Birthday Saul Bass, without you, I could never be me.