Wednesday, February 20, 2019

My 10 Favorite Saul Bass Logos

When Saul Bass died in 1996, he left behind a legacy of unique designs that included corporate logos and movie poster and title designs.

Saul Bass had a big role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Not only did he design the opening titles that “split” in horizontal bands to reinforce the shaky reality of character Norman Bates, he also helped Hitchcock devise the now-famous shower scene.

His corporate logo designs also stand the test of time, and I decided to rank 10 of his famous creations.

1. The Bell Logo

My mom worked for the former Southern Bell, so 1969’s blue bell in a circle, a modernized version of the original Bell System logo, was one I grew up with. Its simplicity is brilliant and the logo was instantly recognizable.

2. United Airlines

Known as the “Tulip,” the 1973 design was the corporate logo for United Airlines through 2010, a long life for any logo.

3. The United Way

The logo for the United Way has changed very little since 1972.

4. Warner Communications

The 1972 Warner Communications logo featured two white backward slashes followed by a dot in the upper right, forming an abstract W inside a black rounded square. It was featured on Warner Brothers films until Warner Communications merged with Time in the late 1980s. Bass’s “Big W” logo is still used by the Warner Music Group.

5. Dixie

Everyone used those little Dixie cup dispensers in their homes when I was a kid. The Dixie logo, set in type with what looks like a stemless four-leaf clover in place of the X is a friendly looking design.

6. Quaker Oats

The Quaker Oats Company used a drawing of a Quaker as its logo since about 1900. A full-figured man was replaced with a black and white head-and-shoulders Quaker in the 1940s and then a color rendition in the 1950s. In 1969, Saul Bass introduced his take on the figure, which was in use until the company brought back an illustration reminiscent of the earlier designs.

7. Avery

The Avery Dennison Corporation makes a wide variety of products, but they are probably best known for their labels and office supplies. Bass’s 1975 design created an A from three paper clips.

8. Girl Scouts of the USA

The current logo was modified only slightly from Bass’s 1978 design, made familiar to girls and boys nationwide thanks to those delicious Girl Scout Cookies.

9. Minolta

The Minolta logo is one of the “youngest” on the list, making its debut in 1981, but 36 years later, the Konica Minolta is still going strong.

10. Kleenex

Like Dixie’s font-based logo, the Kleenex logo is a script font that’s casual and comforting. It’s a good marriage of a well-known brand name and a simple design that produces a familiar emotional response to the product.

What’s your favorite corporate logo (whether created by Saul Bass or someone else)?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.