Those stopping by Google.com today will be treated to a brief animation of colorful, geometric shapes and forms, set to the sprite David Brubeck tune "Unsquare Dance." The so-called "Google Doodle" is in honor of what would have been Saul Bass's 93rd birthday. His name might not ring a bell, but you are likely familiar with his contributions to film. Working with filmmaking giants like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese, Bass – who died in 1996 – revolutionized the way movies displayed their opening titles. He employed a sharp, minimalist aesthetic, a style he used on a number of movie posters and corporate logos as well, that has since been replicated profusely. Bass also helped a number of directors design their most famous sequences – from the shower scene in Hitchcock's "Psycho" to the climactic battle in Kubrick's "Spartacus."
The Doodle jumps from visual reference to visual reference of his work on classics like "Spartacus," "West Side Story," "Psycho," "Vertigo," "North by Northwest," "Anatomy of a Murder" and "Around the World in 80 Days." Even the "play" and "pause" buttons on the animation get the Bass treatment. Google's design team was led by Matt Cruickshank, the illustrator of the upcoming "Monsters University" book, which has a look undoubtedly influenced by Bass. Cruickshank wrote on his blog, "I've always been interested in the work of Saul Bass and was delighted to get the opportunity to celebrate his birthday on the Google homepage. From the outset I wanted to celebrate a number of his film credits in succinct succession, as well as a nod in the direction of his poster work." Cruickshank adds that Bass was a Brubeck fan, hence the Doodle's musical selection.