Admired for his ability to balance content and form, Bass believed that in any successful design, content was paramount. In the 1990s he stated, “I’ve always looked for the simple idea,” and went on to say that he and his wife, Elaine (who worked with him on film titles and short films from 1960), continued to do so. “We have a very reductive point of view when it comes to visual matters,” he commented. We see the challenge in getting things down to something totally simple, and yet doing something with it, which provokes… If it’s simple simple, it’s boring. We try for the idea that is so simple that it will make you think – and rethink.“
Today he is best known for his iconic film posters, and more than fifty title sequences for Hollywood films, each featuring an image or symbol that served as a metaphor for the film itself. Because he always sought to create a design relevant to the commission at hand, there is no definitive “Bass” aesthetic; though his work shows a strong drive towards reductionism, distillation, and economy, features central to Modernism, it also reveals a concern with fragmentation, layering, ambiguity, and metaphor, qualities evident in the 1950s but more associated with post-Modernism. His bold designs are matched by bold and expressive color palettes, and the posters incorporate finely honed lettering and typography.