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A to Z graphic design languages of film quotations.



content VCT ESSAY The Avant -garde work of Saul Bass

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PPD Research Inspiration Development and Process

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PPD Conslusion

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VCT The avant garde work of Saul Bass Experimental Typography is not only breaking the rules even through its boundaries are changing, the next new thing, always changing. However, it means more than just typography. Designers can reject existing traditions to becoming better designers as they enjoyed their own style. They made sure their own works mine the very depth to their personalities. The avant - garde offers critiques of the main stream, challenging accepted, conventions and developing new ways of making art and design. However, designers have to take forward ideas and develop original positions. This movement is the fastest way to design and reform on expanding aesthetic rather than repeating the design and aesthetic. The concept of “avant-garde” refers to people in various field industries to learn something is new and strange. Avantgarde art movements influences and inspires me to begin to study typefaces for each film quotes because I would like to apply the new concept with my own personality to refers into my own style with traditional rules and breaking rules.

“Experiment based on art to not follow the rules of art techniques and applications, and it follows the own view point of each designers’ wants and own new innovative ways featuring new methods to help them to train become better designers. “The avant-garde offers critiques of the mainstream, challenging accepted, conventions and developing new ways of seeing or in the case of typography, new ways of reading.” (The Typographic Experiment: From Futurism to Fuse). The ideas and ways of experimental design explored the processes of the familiar innovation, through it may rejects the exiting rules and style but it can develop the process and original positions in expanding the new rules.

According to “The Typographic Experiment: From Futurism to Fuse”, talking about avant-garde experiment, he tells us that “To experiment extends the work beyond the limits of newness and plays it out into the territory of the unknown. The avant garde is an inherently ‘insecure position’ and its boundaries constantly changing as it searches for the next ‘new thing’.” The book The Typographic Experiment: From Futurism to Fuse continues but with a focus on typography; “Experimental typography is also about the expressive potential in the arrangement of type either by achieving a quiet uniformity of similar elements or by the visually exciting use of contrasting ones.” I have to agree with these sentences because my thought about avant-garde work is how to be recognized designer as all target audiences do not have to know what name of designers made well known films with montages but they recognized only film titles and montages. Therefore the designers demonstrated a symbiotic between relationship words and images in the film opening credits in different innovative ways such as photomontage and animations.



Saul Bass

Seven’ 1995 film

Take David Fincher’s ‘Seven’ 1995 film as example. This movie had a very strong identity and typographic in this opening credit. It attracted to audiences very well and manipulates the film opening to transform into each picture image with typefaces. According to the opening sequence of ‘Se7en”, it showed that the opened book turned each page with the typography for “ New Line Cinema Presents” which broke the grid’s rule and kept a bit shaken the letters. After the first scene, it showed the mixture of two typefaces for each cast and crew in the next scenes of opening sequence. It showed some clues in these scenes such as cash represent as ‘Greed’; and the pages showed a lot of deaths and faces had been drawn roughly and the book scratched by a needle at the end of sequence. This sequence designed by a motion designer Kyle Cooper who inspired by Saul Bass for his works mostly. Therefore, the way of creating the text and image shows the combination of typing and hand-drawing typefaces to twisted and sensational feelings. Typography can help art and designs to represent each characters and words that make film-opening credits very clear. This way is how does the designer become successful. Saul Bass and wong Kar wai are both of designers I respect and inspire the most for my project, A to Z graphic design of film quotations.

Saul Bass (1920-1996) is one of great graphic designers of the mid-20th century and well known for his designs on graphics motion picture title sequences, included, The Man with the Golden Arm, North by Northwest and Psycho. He also designed for movie posters as he offered this job position to design for title sequences and movie posters for notably film directors. He worked more than fifty years and his work had the cinematic impression at beginning because his ideas and his imagery appeal as much to the emotions of the important characters in films. He was praised by his notably film collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Martin Scoreses. He was a graphic designer for poster movie before he made a successful debut on film title sequences.

Before Saul’s turn for film posters, all of posters had simply the stars’ faces and some showed sexy bodies as the stars just showed a lot of emotions as happy, sad, angry, sorrowful, shocked, scared and lusty. Films titles used simply typefaces with the content of films and list of names in dull posters. Saul Bass has the unique ways towards his poster designs by the influenced of Bauhaus art movement. He expanded and then combined between the rights and wrongs of art and design for his creative qualities and techniques. As for the poster of ‘Vertigo’, a 1958 film, he used the spiral lines as his graphic element and the leading man and female did not show the faces but showed that they hugged on the center of poster with the large spiral lines to define the feelings of dizziness and suspicion as image language. His trademark of graphic elements became the importance of graphic design field because he attracted audiences’ attractions by his remarkable poster designs in various ways of create film posters.

‘Vertigo’ 1958 film poster



According to “The Man with the Golden Arm” movie from 1955, Saul Bass created his own ability to ‘animate’ it as an opening sequence. He used thick lines and letters as symbols for this movie and he played around these symbols on the film sequence as his style can visualize these symbols on the right concept and details. This concept is inspired by Picasso’s “Guernica” which Otto Preminger admired. This credit sequence is very simple but bold idea which is the best way for successful designer. Icon is one of his keys to create for his credit sequences works, in which he used icons to refer each plot for each movie. Therefore, he combined composition and typographic in a brilliant idea to break the traditional rules. This is why he is avant-garde and below I will show some of his techniques. ‘The Man with the Golden Arm’ i955 title sequence

Although Saul Bass used illustrations for most of his film credit sequences, he can decorate very simple designs and impacts for some credit sequences. Therefore, the ‘simplicity’ imagery have qualities characteristic of film titles. Take “Carmen Jones” a 1954 film by Otto Preminger as example. This shows that abstract backgrounds, the rhythm, and clear details of Saul Bass’s graphic style as a flower image symbolized the movie and opening credit well. He never gives too many details for every project that would attract to a large of audiences if they want to know about story.

‘Carmen Jones’ 1954 title sequence



“The graphic design corresponds directly with the architecture. I filmed several scenes in New York to start out the film, and these were Saul Bass’ inspiration for the title sequence. He created the drawings that set the perfect tone for the sequence.” Alfred Hitchcock.

In his uses of the 1920’s Constructivist art movement, it is very brilliant to combine and recreate from mechanical objects to structural forms and geometric shapes. For example, “North by Northwest”, a 1959 film, with a perfection of geometric shape theme, Bass influenced many aspects of modern avant-garde architecture. Bass has clever idea to create titles in perspective as it would become memorable opening credit.

‘North by Northwest’ 1959 title sequence

Until now, all of the motion graphic designers influenced by Bass’s style and it means that Bass is one of the most influenced person to represent his style of humor and features in graphic design and film industry.



‘2046’ a 2004 film scene

Wong Kar Wai To End, I am also interested in new wave Hong Kong film director, Wong Kar Wai. He has been much less written about. However, for me, I think he is a good example of avant-garde work because his style of film is very different from typical Hong Kong directors and to all audiences, they like his style of storytelling. I admire his style of film because he explored his style to tell more than just storytelling. His techniques combined all art and design in his movies included As Tears Go By, Days of Being Wild, Chungking Express, Ashes of Time, Fallen Angels, Happy Together, In the Mood for Love, and 2046. Most of his films are inspired by Shanghai and Hong Kong of his childhood to widen and deepen about the stereotypes of the East especially Chinese.

For an example, “In the Mood for Love” a 2000 film described as the real stereotypes of Chinese people in 1960s, which is so far different from today’s generation; and also influenced to every art and design industry such as cheong-sam for fashion editorials and his “2046” film. Wong Kar Wai mentioned that he was influenced by Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ film. Therefore, ‘In the Mood for Love’ shows every atmosphere and scenes of 1960s in Hong Kong as important aspect of art and design. That is why Wong Kar Wai is one of new wave director and different to the local film directors.



The difference between Saul Bass and Wong Kar Wai is the unique ways of creating their works in a film industry, for an example, Saul Bass use his simple and abstract techniques; and Wong Kar Wai was inspired by more than just Hong Kong legendary film directors and recreated his childhoods for his films. Both of their important techniques and features give memorable impressions and furthermore, their unique ways of creating something is new towards the film industry. Their creative principle of art and design influenced other designers and audience.

‘2046’ a 2004 film scene




During summer holiday, I took some photos of not only signs of ‘language’ but communications, emotions, colors, textures, and taglines which all can be defined as ‘language’. I took photos of each letter that I could identify in my hometown Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. I found shapes of letters from random places like carparks, the building, packages and more.




I also got ideas and inspiration from film titles after I had watched films to relax.


Therefore, I started collecting and research posters, trailers and other ephemera from cinemas in my hometown.



Vouge Homme Japan, A/W09 / 10 ‘New york love you’ a 2009 film poster

‘Ocean’s eleven’ a 20091 film scene

‘2046’ a 2004 film scene



‘Ocean twelve” a 2002 film poster

‘All About Eve’ a 1950 film poster



‘The Godfather” a 1973 film poster

‘American Baeauty’ a 1999 film poster

‘Double Indemnity’ a 1944 film poster


‘Alice in Wonderland’ editorial from Vogue US


‘Grafiifi - couture’ editorial from Vogue Paris



‘Lily’ filmed by Nick Knight for Vogue UK 2009

Cover of Vouge Homme Japan, A/W09 / 10


PPD Development and Process


When I returned to London in the autumn, I signed up to some useful, as well as useless, and but also interesting workshops at my first term in 2nd year. At first, a Flash language animation workshop proved to be quite useful workshop. I hope to sign up more sessions of this kind of workshops. It is really not enough to know how to use flash animation after this workshop. It gave me ideas of combination words, stories and films as well.


The Language of colour suggested us to choose which colour for each meaning as it trained us to understand and investigate, explore and visualize each colour.

I chose as red, black and white as strong emotions, even through some of my selected a – z films do not have these three colours.




I find both of Ben Richards and Phippa’s workshops very useful and show very important processes of typography. I am lucky to attend these classes or I will be an amateur designer forever. This helped me for editorial pages in magazines and posters.





According to the Good, Bad and the Ugly workshop, we studied not only grid but how to make target audiences or readers to be able to read well and produced layouts for words, for an example, relationship between text and images. We also trained to design and create more than just beautiful or dull grids in pages. I researched different various of magazines and books and I realized that these pages have editorial themes or concepts which are very influenced by films and arts.

To be honest, I was not confident enough for A-Z project and tried to visualize between film and graphic design stuffs till Steve Lloyd taught us to explore our views and minds. I tried my best to investigate, explore and visualize the development of A-Z and films.

I brainstormed a lot and sketched a fair bit and then developed my three ideas on the computer. Firstly, my idea was to create a short story of each letter with ten seconds in flash animation. My next idea was to create editorial designs for film quotes. My last idea was to create 3D-dimensional mock up for each letter. I chose my second idea as mainly because most of my workshops in 2nd year are about typography and editorial designs for PDF. I was mainly working with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and I nDesign for my workshops too.

My design process is about finding right images and type of each letters, and influences from the avant-garde and Saul Bess styles towards design. I would like my design to be fun and comfortable to read and look, so my aim for project is to create designs that are playful and appealing styles than just a collection of beautiful looks. I collected editorial pages, movie posters, and famous quotes as primary research to study more than definitions of these words and inspirations to develop new pages with typeface and images. Fashion magazines are my inspiration and motivation. I hope to be an art director in a fashion magazine. I am also fascinated by the use of typography and the message that portrayed as different kinds of appearances, emotions, and characteristics. For my A-Z project, I wanted to present a clear visual message through the use of images I collected from my research process and my photography.



film quotations.

; 43


I warn you dear child if i lose my temper,


The Queen of Hearts Alice in Wonderland


Don’t talk like that.


You’ll be alright.

We’re together now. Everything’s going to be fine, you’ll see.”

Belle The Beauty and Beast



You’ll try this on every maid in my kingdom.

And, if the shoe fits.... The King Cinderella



Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates.

You never know what you’re gonna get.

Forrest Gump Forrest Gump


Rhett Butler Gone with the Wind


Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.



I’ll have what she’s having. The Customer When Harry met Sally





want to see

what love looks like when it’s triumphant Peter Warne It happened one night



show me the money

Rod Tidwell Jerry Maguire



Oh, no,

it wasn’t the airplanes. It was


killed the beast. Carl Denham King Kong



Are you taking any

prescription medication? Raymond Rain Man



Lips red as the rose. Hair black as ebony. Skin white as snow.

The Mirror Snow White


You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”


Marie “Slim” Browning To have or Have Not



you don’t understand me

I’m a teenager. I’ve got problems! Lux Lisbon The Virgin Suicides



PPDConslusion After I completed my project, I have to say that I am happy to see the result of my design but some works that I am very disappointed. The final result is different from my idea of typography in the grids. My works I like are ‘A’ is for Alice In Wonderland’, ‘I’ for It happened one night, ‘R’ for Rain Man, and T is for “To have or have not”. These works proved me as I improved my typography slightly better because I got critical feedback from my tutors, especially Phippa, about my semi developed works because she is very sensitive about typography. Luckily, she is really good at typography and grids in layouts. I am grateful to learn and develop my work from her, as there were no many workshops from her. The other works I am very disappointed are ‘P’ is for Psycho; ‘Q’ is for Quantum of Solace and others not only because I didn’t watch the other movies before. This is because I still haven’t enough had practice.

Furthermore, I tried to solve few problems in my A to Z project for layout and grid. My idea is originally to combine different sizes of one typeface for each letter and to play the typography around the layouts. Most of my works for letters did not work smoothly so that’s what are few problems. However, I enjoyed working with my idea about film quotes and conceptualizing. I actually found this idea more enjoyable than my previous works I obviously have a long way to go because these workshops are not enough to transform me into a designer whom a well known company desperately hires. Of course, I am proud of being student in London College of Communication but I can’t be too proud. I don’t know what I will become in the future. Famous designer? Janitor? Unemployed? Finally, I just crossed my collected from my research process and my photography.



biblography VCT Stephen Teo, “Wong Kar Wai” 2005 Kyung Chul Shin “A study on film title sequence: through the analysus of title designs by Saul Bass” 2009 Gemma Solana & Antonio Boneu “Uncredited: graphic design & opening titles in movies” 2007 Geoffrey Crook “The changing image : television graphics from caption card to computer” 1986 Philip Meggs. “6 chapters in design : Saul Bass, Ivan Chermayeff, Milton Glaser, Paul Rand, Ikko Tanaka, Henryk Tomaszewski” 1997

A - Z project “The Typographic Experiment: From Futurism to Fuse”

Gloucester, Mass, “Solid gold : 40 years of magazine design award-winning from the Society of Publication Designers” 2005 Ian Noble and Russell Bestley “Experimental layout” 2001 PIE Books Toyko “Mini theater graphics” 2003 Patrick Demarchelier “Patrick Demarchelier.” 2009 Gavin Ambrose and Paul Harris “Layout / design and text” 2005 Gavin Ambrose and Paul Harris. “Typography : n. the arrangement, style and appearance of type and typefaces” 2005

Robert Klanten and Hendrik Hellige Claudia Mareis & Reinhard Wendler “Illusive : contemporary illustration. Part 3” 2009 Victor Cheung “Stereo graphics : graphics in new dimensions” 2008



Designed By

SZE SHENG CHAN FdA in Design for Graphic Communication 2nd yr

Film Quote  

typography spreads