A Simple Lesson From Saul

I can’t have a blog that heavily focuses on motion graphics and kinetic type without paying tribute to arguably one of the best motion graphic and film designers of all time Saul Bass. Saul’s early film titles were major markers of modernity. He was one of the key designers that brought Abstract Expressionism to the forefront and to such a wide audience because it was done through films. The thing that is so striking about Saul’s work is that it is wonderfully simplistic yet extremely innovative. Even non designers and film makers of later generations are familiar with his movie titles. His work proves that the only form of TRUE sustainable design is well thought out, long-lasting design.

To take a brief overview of a few of Saul’s major titles, allows us to see why he was a “god.” It’s a reminder, and example to show that with all the great technology out there, great creation comes back to basics. Technology should only be used to assist in a design, it shouldn’t ever lead it. I’m only going to quickly discuss my favourite, but I’ve included other images for your viewing pleasure.

Anatomy of a Murder
The title sequence is one of Saul’s most simple and most successful. It seems almost too effortless between the integration of text, image and sound. Again, it comes back to simplistic strong ideas. They symbol for the film forms and falls apart in synchronization with the music, while the bold white credits over the black fragments add another layer of contrast. Saul used the music, a contemporary jazz score, that had a staccato and fragmented style and paired it with fragmented body parts which was obviously a fitting compliment to the movie subject.

In the title, the various pieces of the segmented figure form quickly into a total configuration and then after, the arms, legs, head, body and hands pop on and off with the various credits. The sequence ends with a pair of hands wich appear quickly, jump forward and obliterate the screen to black.

Hopefully you will recognize the other titles pictured below and if not…you should check them out!

Anatomy of Murder Saul Bass

Anatomy of Murder Saul Bass

Anatomy of Murder SAUL BASS

Advise & Consent SAUL BASS

Advise & Consent SAUL BASS

Bonjour Tristesse SAUL BASS

Bonjour Tristesse SAUL BASS

The Man With The Golden Arm SAUL BASS

The Man With The Golden Arm SAUL BASS

The Frank Sinatra Show SAUL BASS

The Frank Sinatra Show SAUL BASS


Simple Yet Effective

One thing that I’ve learned about motion graphics and online animated videos in general, is that you don’t have to be an award winning artists or a master illustrator to make engaging entertaining online media. Some of the best messages and videos out there are that way because there was a clear message and a very simplistic style attached to that message to get the point across. Sometimes the simplest videos can be the most funny, thought provoking or easy on the brain. Here is one of my favourites online animated video series that are done with super simple illustrations. They are very effective without all the bells and whistles of special effects and complicated layouts and visuals. The funny narration also helps, but I think the style that goes with the funny stories is also what gives them their character.

Hope they make you laugh!

Fun simple animation of the adventures of male bonding.

Fun simple animation of the adventures of male bonding.

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Now that’s Infotainment!

As you can probably tell by now, I am really interested in online video and motion graphics. I find it such a great way to educate people. It takes the best of entertainment: television and film and marries that with education and really cool new technologies and effects. I find it so fascinating and creative all at once.

One of the first ever motion graphic videos I was introduced to during my graphic design education was the story of stuff. I still think the video did such a great job of taking a very complex subject and laying it out for people step by step. Some may think it’s preachy, but I find it not too much so. I think that it does a great job of showing people from extraction through to sale, use and disposal, how ALLLLL the STUFF in our lives affects communities here and abroad. Because this topic is controversial and it also makes us question our own ethics, people don’t like to discuss it. However, this video has been watch over 2 million times on YouTube alone. So people must be listening…

The Story of Stuff Project

The Story of Stuff Project

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Another Great Motion Graphic Video

I hope that you like my previous blog about the video: Man by Steve Cutts. He also has another video that he has done in a similar style to the Man video. It’s also has a great message done in the same humorous tone. The subject matter is not as “harsh” but it still makes the viewer stop and examine their life similar to the way that the Man video does.

I hope you enjoy this one as well.

In the Fall by Steve Cutts

In the Fall by Steve Cutts

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No Words to Explain a Great Idea.

I came across this video the other day and I just think it’s fantastic. It’s a video by Illustrator Steve Cutts. It’s a Flash and After Effects animation looking at mans relationship with the natural world. The topic is very contentious, but the illustrator does an amazing job of making a much serious topic, entertaining while still getting his point across through humour. When trying to communicate, it’s a matter of being able to communicate a complex idea or message and making it simple and effective enough for people to want to listen and take notice. Though the video may offend some people, it’s hard to argue with the overarching message.

I also find that the style is very effective in drawing you into the story. It’s a little simplistic and crass, like the way we have behaved in regards to this subject. He does a really good job of the design style as well. The shot sequence and the way you follow the character like your on a journey with him is very smart.

I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did!

Man by Steve Cutts

Man by Steve Cutts

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