Saul Bass logos: then and now

This is a bit special.

At age 13 I passed by the movie theather in Pittsburgh and noticed this graphic – Man with The Golden Arm – and it was literally magnetic, I could not walk away until I studied every line – mind you, age 13 just before my Bar Mitzvah and had no clue about anythuing Bass.

In later years I developed a federal graphics career as well as a jewish design and fine arts career. I was the art director of the National Institute of Mental Health and in 1974 there was an attempt to improve federal visual communications and Mr. Bass was the keynote speaker held at the State Dept. I went over to him and told him about the Golden Arm story.

Years later I was exhibiting in a jewish arts fest and a month later found that my designs and Mr. Bass’s designs were lifted and used by some bad guy. I was back in contact with Saul Bass reporting this theft. I also sent him my latest design samples which included the stolen art.

He now was much older and somewhat ill.

He asked me to go after the bastard. His voice now sounded like the “Godfather” giving me instruction. Then he said something that knocked me over. He said, “Your design work is very impressive and my only regret is that I have never created the kind of Judaic artwork you have done – very impressive.” I later caught the bad guy and have not seen any of his theft activity. For a short period of time Saul mentored and made comments on some of my work and soon passed.

To me Mr. Bass was a real design icon.

Avy Ashery, Visual Communications Advisor to the U.S. Congress

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