I was watching the Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho recently and the title designs were by Saul Bass. It struck me that he was also responsible for the excellent title sequence in North By Northwest and some famous airline logos as well.
Saul and Elaine Bass worked together as graphic designers and are quite famous in that world. When it comes to aviation, you will surely remember their designs.
Continental Airlines Jetstream Logo
In 1968, the team were responsible for the Jetstream logo for Continental Airlines. You can see it on a Boeing 747 at the top of this article and it certainly is striking.
According to this site, the cost of the design for the aircraft was US$30,000 in 1968 dollars, plus they received another US$10,000 for an evaluation of their old branding. Overall, the airline paid about US$500,000 for using the logo on an ongoing basis.
United Airlines Goes Saul Bass
Perhaps even more beloved was the creation for United Airlines. A patriotic red white and blue, the two overlapping letter “U”s resembled a tulip. This was introduced in 1974 and lasted through to the merger with Continental Airlines.
Officially called the “Rainbow” livery due to the orange, red and blue stripes along the aircraft, it is one of the most lamented losses when it comes to airline branding. The current tail design just doesn’t have the same zing, does it?
The original Frontier Airlines commissioned Saul and Elaine Bass for their 1978 update. What resulted was a big stylised white F on a red background, standing for Frontier.
While Frontier went bankrupt in 1986, a new airline with the same name started in 1994. They brought back the stylised F, this time in green, for the letter F in their name in 2014. This remains the only design still flying today.
Saul Bass was responsible for many other famous logos, such as Warner Music, Kleenex, Bell Telephone, AT&T and more. He was working right through to his death in 1996, with his last movie credits being the year before.
What do you think of the Continental, United and Frontier logos? Classic designs or dated when compared to what we have today? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.