Saul Bass’ work in logo design and movie title credit sequences spanned the latter half of the 20th century, with prominent work in each field. He worked closely with AT&T, designing not only the 1970 “bell” logo that was ubiquitous for a decade, but also the globe logo unveiled in 1983.
One reason for this bell logo’s ubiquity? The redesign was the largest corporate re-identity program in the U.S., ever. The redesign covered:
135,000 Bell System vehicles
1,250,000 phone booths
170,000,000 telephone directories
This film was made by Bass’ company as a presentation to AT&T executives. It would have extended to be shown to the public, but a number of his ideas in the film were not ultimately adopted, like his phone booth designs, and men’s and women’s uniforms. But a great many of the design were adopted—including, most memorably, the telephone vans and hardhat designs of the 1970s. Bass designed down to the details, showcasing in this film a myriad of ideas, like Yellow Pages book designs, cufflinks for executives, and flags.
Bass’ other very recognizable logo designs that persist today include those for Minolta, Girl Scouts of America, Avery International, Geffen Records, Warner Int’l, and many more. And Bass’ later, 1983 design for AT&T (the striped/encircled globe) was the foundation for the logo that the company has today, though redesigned in 2005 by Interbrand.
Produced by Saul Bass
Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ