How to Brand a Film Festival, Saul Bass style

A new movie festival pays homage to the master of film posters and title sequences.

If cinema and graphic design made up a venn diagram, there'd only be one name to overlap both circles.

Saul Bass is the connection of course, the American graphic designer behind Hitchcock's most famous title sequences, along with classic movie posters for the Master of Suspense, auteur Stanley Kubrick and many more. Arguably he also storyboarded the iconic shower scene from Psycho, but that's a discussion for another day.

Saul's influence on design and film can still be seen to this day, as agrees Argentinian designer Leo G Franchi. "He’s without doubt one of the most important graphic designers in history," Leo tells us. "His process of pushing design to the limits of abstraction should be studied in all design schools. He also was a pioneer and innovator in what we now call motion graphics."

The influence and style of Bass revealed itself when Leo was tapped by Cine a la Vista to brand its inaugural 2019 festival. While Digital Arts was too London-stuck to go, the delightful branding work by Leo above caught our eyes on Behance, so we reached out to find out more.

"Cine a la Vista is the first and only international film festival in Argentina where a jury of teenagers choose the winning films," Leo explains. "They gather together from different regions of Argentina, Chile and Brazil to debate and choose the best cinematic works."

The Brief

"The brief given to me was relatively open in terms of aesthetics but with many communication problems to be solved, especially in finding a way to talk to the youngsters but also to the general audience.

"I was in charge of the direction, main design pieces and the animation of the whole branding and, after some explorations, I found that a modern Saul Bass style would be the perfect solution to attract the youngsters with its simple, direct communication aesthetic - and also the adult public through the means of nostalgia."

The Materials

"Although Bass experimented with different kinds of media, for Cine a la Vista I was very influenced by his animated paper-cut works. I always try to experiment with a mixed media style, combining analogue and digital techniques. I love the subtle irregularities of the paper when you cut it out with scissors, and those 'imperfections' are perfect for me and they helped to get that 'tangible' feeling I wanted to find.

"I produced countless elements searching for the perfect paper shapes for this project (as below), keeping in mind that Bass made up to 300 sketches for a single logo."

The Process

"I used paper with different thicknesses, scissors and a scanner in the analogue part of the process. Then I used Photoshop and After Effects.

"I created a toolkit that included all the design elements, templates and a guide on how to use them.

"Having had all of this pre-established not only speeded up my work process because of the amount of pieces required by a film festival - but it also was easy for other members of the team to create a design piece on their own, while I continued with the other pieces and animations."

Read next: 20 Classic Saul Bass Movie Posters Collected in Pull-out-and-Frame Poster Book

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