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Graphic Design, Illustration

Posted by Mark Sinclair, 14 December 2012, 15:24    Permalink    Comments (1)

Letter from Saul Bass to Stanley Kubrick. Photo: Bobby Solomon/The Fox is Black

Saul Bass, a graphic designer responsible for some of the most celebrated work in film posters, title sequences and identity design, needs little introduction. But famous as he was, it seems he still had time to employ a rather amusing signature on occasion...

In a great post on The Fox is Black blog, designer Bobby Solomon reports back from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art show on Stanley Kubrick. Among the exhibits from Kubrick's films, one element in particular caught Solomon's eye: a series of sketches Bass made while making a poster for the director's 1980 film, The Shining.

Poster sketch for The Shining by Saul Bass. Photo: Bobby Solomon/The Fox is Black

And alongside the designs – which you can see in full on Solomon's post – are images of some of the correspondence Bass had with the film director in 1978, during the process of making the sketches and sending them over to Kubrick. On two of these letters, the 'bass' signature above is employed.

While a more conventionally signed 'Saul' follows on from a 'Best regards' in the letters, the swoop of the 'l' suddenly appears to turn into a bass – complete with the bespectacled face of Mr. Bass. (It's clearly a stamp, and looks like it would have had to have been made with his face on it.) And in personalising one of the letters even further, Bass went to the trouble of adding a splash of colour.

All of this is, of course, in the context of discussing one of the most frightening films ever made.

Letter from Saul Bass to Stanley Kubrick. Photo: Bobby Solomon/The Fox is Black

The series of Bass's poster sketches for The Shining are on The Fox is Black, here. Stanley Kubrick is on at the LACMA until June 13 2013, details at


CR In print

In our December issue we look at why carpets are the latest medium of choice for designers and illustrators. Plus, Does it matter if design projects are presented using fake images created using LiveSurface and the like? Mark Sinclair looks in to the issue of mocking-up. We have an extract from Craig Ward's upcoming book Popular Lies About Graphic Design and ask why advertising has been so poor at preserving its past. Illustrators' agents share their tips for getting seen and we interview maverick director Tony Kaye by means of his unique way with email. In Crit, Guardian economics leader writer Aditya Chakrabortty review's Kalle Lasn's Meme Wars and Gordon Comstock pities brands' long-suffering social media managers. In a new column on art direction, Paul Belford deconstructs a Levi's ad that was so wrong it was very right, plus, in his brand identity column, Michael Evamy looks at the work of Barcelona-based Mario Eskenazi. And Daniel Benneworth-Gray tackles every freelancer's dilemma - getting work.

Our Monograph this month, for subscribers only, features the EnsaïmadART project in which Astrid Stavro and Pablo Martin invited designers from around the world to create stickers to go on the packaging of special edition packaging for Majorca's distinctive pastry, the ensaïmada, with all profits going to a charity on the island (full story here)

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1 Comment

Funny piece of history, especially the letter about The Shining poster
2012-12-14 17:15:57

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