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.)