Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first showing of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Psycho in New York. The story of Norman Bates, his mother and the spooky motel is hailed as one of the most influential suspense movies of all time. So why do I mention it here on the design blog? Well nearly every film has opening titles and the Psycho credits were created by another highly influential individual, graphic designer Saul Bass. This is as good a time as any to look back at his wonderful title design work.

The opening credits are deceptively simple. A combination of vertical and horizontal bars move across the screen revealing the credits with Bernard Hermann’s dramatic score adding tension. The names are sliced and pulled apart and moved rapidly up and down the screen, possibly conveying the idea of a split personality like Norman Bates.

Psycho was the third and final collaboration between Saul Bass and Alfred Hitchcock. Bass also worked as an advisor on the movie, drawing setups and scenes for some of the movie’s sequences including the famous shower scene.


Image via and.splinder

The Psycho Movie Posters

While I was reading up for this piece, I found a huge variety of Psycho movie posters. I’m fairly sure that they were not all (if any) designed by Saul Bass but they’re all pretty interesting to look at and include the instantly recognisable torn logo.

(Note: I couldn’t find credits for many of these posters so suffice to say copyright belongs to the creators which I believe is Universal Pictures.)




PsychoLC8 Psycho11 Psycho13

Tags: Design
Jennifer Farley is a designer, illustrator and design instructor based in Ireland. She writes about design and illustration on her blog at Laughing Lion Design.

Free Guide:

How to Choose the Right Charting Library for Your Application

How do you make sure that the charting library you choose has everything you need? Sign up to receive this detailed guide from FusionCharts, which explores all the factors you need to consider before making the decision.

  • Michael

    Isn’t Sitepoint about websites?

  • Jennifer Farley

    Michael, Sitepoint is certainly about websites. This blog is about design and design is not just limited to the web. It would be a very blinkered view if we only ever looked at web design. Saul Bass is one of the most influential designers and some readers may not have heard of him before. You will find examples of many designers, including web designers who have used his ideas in their work

    I don’t think there’s any harm in looking at popular culture now and then.

  • glenngould


  • ravi_k47

    Design is not limited to websites. It comes from fashion, photographi, grafitti, ads, tv, and movies. ;)

Ending Soon
Free SitePoint Premium

Get one free year of unlimited book and course downloads on SitePoint Premium!