Saul Bass and Logo Design: Then and Now (2011)

  • LAWRY’S FOODS (1959)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • LAWRY’S FOODS 3D version. Date unknown

Logo lifespan: 58 years and counting (1959- )

  • ALCOA (1963)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • ALCOA (1998)
    Revitalized by Arnold Saks Associates

Logo lifespan: 53 years and counting (1964- )

  • FULLER PAINTS (1963)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • FULLER O’BRIEN Only the name has changed

Logo lifespan: 54 years and counting (1963- )

  • CELANESE (1966)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • CELANESE (200x)
    Designed by Siegel+Gale
  • CONTINENTAL (1967)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • CONTINENTAL (1991)
    Designed by Onoma Design

Logo lifespan: 24 years (1967-1991)

ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL(1968)

The logo was used until 2001, when Rockwell International was split into two companies, Rockwell Automation and Rockwell Collins

Logo lifespan: 33 years (1968-2001)

BELL(1969)

Used until 1984, when Bell became AT&T and Bass was hired to design their new logo

EDIT: Used by telephone company Malheur Bell, Oregon, until 2009

Logo lifespan:

15 years (1969-1984)

40 years (1969-2009)

  • DIXIE (1969)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • DIXIE (2007?)
    Designer unknown

Logo lifespan: 38 years (1969-2007)

  • QUAKER (1969)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • QUAKER (2010)
    Designed by Wallace Church

Logo lifespan: 41 years (1969-2010)

  • UNITED WAY (1972)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • UNITED WAY (2004)
    Designed by FutureBrand in 2004

Logo lifespan: 45 years and counting (1972-    )

  • UNITED (1973)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • UNITED (2010)
    Designed by Onoma Design in 1991

Logo lifespan: 37 years (1973-2010)

WARNER COMMUNICATIONS(1974)

Currently used by Warner Music Group

Logo lifespan: 43 years and counting (1974-    )

AVERY(1975)

Avery changed their name to Avery Dennison after a merger. The company still uses the same symbol and typeface as in 1975

Logo lifespan: 42 years and counting (1975- )

FRONTIER AIRLINES(1978)

The logo has been used until 1986, when Frontier Airlines filed for bankruptcy

Logo lifespan: 8 years (1978-1986)

  • GIRL SCOUTS (1978)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • GIRL SCOUTS (2010)
    Redesigned by OCD Agency

Logo lifespan: 39 years and counting (1978- )

HANNA-BARBERA(1979)

Logo lifespan: 38 years and counting (1979- )

BOYS CLUBS(1980)

Logo lifespan: 37 years and counting (1980- )

  • MINOLTA (1981)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • MINOLTA (2003)
    Designer unknown

Logo lifespan: 36 years and counting (1981- )

  • GEFFEN RECORDS (1981)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • GEFFEN RECORDS Original design by Saul Bass

Logo lifespan: 36 years and counting (1981- )

GENERAL FOODS(1984)

The logo has been used until the merger with Kraft in 1990.

Logo lifespan: 6 years (1984-1990)

KIBUN(1984)

The company still uses the same symbol

Logo lifespan: 33 years and counting (1984- )

  • AT&T (1984)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • AT&T (2005)
    Redesigned by Interbrand

Logo lifespan: 21 years (1984-2005)

  • Y.W.C.A. (1988)
    Original design by Saul Bass
  • Y.W.C.A. (2004)
    Designed by Landor SF

Logo lifespan: 18 years (1988-2004)

KOSÉ COSMETICS(1991)

Kosé is one of the top cosmetics manufacturers in Japan and in the world. The company still uses the same logo as in 1991

Logo lifespan: 26 years and counting (1991- )

THE GETTY CENTER(1993)

Still the same symbol

Logo lifespan: 24 years and counting (1993- )

Fifteen years after Bass’ death, a book about his work finally hit the shelves: Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design .

“If I do my job well, the identity program will also clean up the image of the company, position it as being contemporary and keep it from ever looking dated”. — Saul Bass

Bass certainly did his job well, he created some of the most recognizable and iconic logos of all time, but they’re gradually disappearing. The most recent death of a Saul Bass logo has been the famous United ‘tulip,’ which was used by the company for 37 years until the merger with Continental in 2010. This caused quite a controversy in the design world, because 1) you don’t mess with a Saul Bass logo 2) you don’t replace a Saul Bass logo with a generic clipart-like version that’s much worse than the original.

I thought it would be interesting to find out what happened to Bass’ other logo/symbol designs and was surprised to see how many of them are still alive.

Some facts and figures about the logos: 21 years after Bass’ death 13 of the 23 logos displayed above still remain the same (this also includes refreshed logos), 6 logos ‘died’ when companies went bankrupt or merged with others. Only 4 logos were replaced by completely redesigned versions. Most significant proof of a job well done is the longevity of Bass’ logos. The average lifespan of the 23 logos on this page is 34 years.

Let me repeat that:

The average lifespan of a Saul Bass logo is 34 years.

EDIT: “YT” in the comments points out that the Bell logo was used until 2009, which makes the average lifespan of a Saul Bass logo even more impressive: 35.0869565 years.

EDIT 2: Josh Kasten kindly provided some additional information: 1) The Celanese re-design was executed by Siegel+Gale 2) Both versions of the Geffen logo were designed by Bass/Yager & Associates. 3) The Alcoa revitalization was done by Arnold Saks Associates in 1998.

Designed by Saul Bass’s daughter Jennifer and written by distinguished design historian Pat Kirkham, who knew Saul Bass, this book contains more than 1,400 illustrations, many from the Bass archive and never published before, providing an in-depth account of one of the leading graphic artists of the 20th century.

Hardback | 1484 illustrations, 440 pages | £48.00 | Published in the UK by Laurence King Publishing .

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