Saul Bass + Chris Bilheimer = Green Day

Growing up, music was my life, specifically grunge, metal and pop punk. When I wasn't listening to Green Day, Foo Fighters, Metallica, Nirvana et al I was reading about them or learning to play their songs on guitar. As I got older and my interests and passion moved into design, my heroes changed from Billie Joe Armstrong, Dave Grohl and Kurt Cobain (he's still a hero) to Paul Rand, Stefan Sagmeister, Milton Glaser and Saul Bass.

 Saul Bass and his posters

Saul Bass and his posters

I was reading about the production of American Idiot, the Green Day album, and there was a story about the album cover design that I found particularly interesting. The designer, Chris Bilheimer (who has the design job I once dreamed of having) told this story.

"Billie Joe called me up one night and said 'Have you ever heard of a designer called Saul Bass?' Saul Bass is my favorite designer, he could not have said anything that would have made me happier. I drove to my office did one comp and e-mailed it to him and within 45 minutes of that phone call, we had the cover. Saul Bass' movie poster for The Man With The Golden Arm was an influence, its central image being a crooked arm and hand."


You can see the influence clearly in the images above. I love that two of my old heroes are brought together in this design. Using Bass as an influence is nothing new, in fact you get more examples of influenced work than actual Saul Bass pieces if you google his name now, but this is one example that took what Saul Bass did and created a fantastic new piece of iconic design.

Here is a video about the American Idiot cover deisgner, Chris Bilhiemer, below, you might get jealous!