In addition to his groundbreaking film title sequences for Vertigo, Psycho, The Man with the Golden Arm and Spartacus, and the television anthology Alcoa Premiere, Saul Bass created iconic logos and trademarks for many businesses and corporations ranging from United Airlines and Lawry’s Foods to the Girl Scouts and AT&T, for which he crafted the famous globe still in use today. Bass’s logo for Alcoa, the Aluminum Company of America (that introduced aluminum foil in 1910), has represented the 125-year-old company for the past 50 years.
In the late 1950s, Bass developed an aluminum foil gift wrap line called “Designs for Giving” for the Reynolds Metals Company of Reynolds Wrap fame. The wrap, test-marketed during the 1958 Christmas season, featured designs with bold, attractive colors and unusual patterns, taking full advantage of the luxurious foil. It was packaged like bolts of fabric in tray packs, which allowed the consumer to see more of the pattern than in a traditional roll.
Typical of the designer, Bass conceptualized all elements, from in-store displays to accessories such as wrapping tags. Though ephemeral, traces of the gift wrap survive among the Saul Bass papers in the Margaret Herrick Library’s Special Collections, in the form of sample sheets and a promotional spiral-bound brochure. The former site of the Reynolds Decorative Foil Division on South Robertson in Los Angeles is now a neighborhood filled with boutique shops from Ralph Lauren to Lisa Kline.
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