Paul Rand: Great American Graphic Designer (1914-1996)

ABC logo, Paul Rand, 1962 This iconic logo was designed by Paul Rand in 1962. While slightly tweaked, it is still in use today. Source: http://www.logo designlove.com/all-about-paul-rand
ABC logo, Paul Rand, 1962
This iconic logo was designed by Paul Rand in 1962. While slightly tweaked, it is still in use today.
Source: http://www.logo designlove.com/all-about-paul-rand

The thing that drew me in most to Paul Rand’s work was his ability to create logos that not only define businesses, but also invoke meaning for everyone that sees them. For example, his original ABC (American Broadcasting Company) logo does more than represent a company; it stands as a recognizable image for all those drawn to the drama of “Grey’s Anatomy”, the humor of “Modern Family”, and the edge-of-your-seat news stories on “20/20”. But his knack for advertising wasn’t the only fascinating thing I discovered about Paul Rand…

Paul Rand is still recognized as one of the best graphic designers of all time, having paved the way for marketing and logo design. Source: http://www.paul-rand.com/assets/portraits/portrait09.jpg
Paul Rand is still recognized as one of the best graphic designers of all time, having paved the way for marketing and logo design.
Source: http://www.paul-rand.com/assets/portraits/portrait09.jpg

Along with marketing, he was a whiz in the business of design and editorial communication. It is so cool to me that a single person was behind such distinguishable designs such as the IBM logo and many covers of magazines like Esquire and Portfolio. I am very inspired by Rand’s work. His use of color, shapes, and typography clearly portray messages, but make something as simple as a poster a visually appealing and mesmerizing work of art. His colleague, Allen Hurlburt, described Rand’s paving the way for future design: “Most contemporary designers are aware of Paul Rand’s highly successful and often compelling contributions toadvartising design. What is not well known is the significant role he played in setting the pattern for future approaches to the advertising concept.”

Paul Rand was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1914. Being raised in a strict Orthodox Jewish household, but having an early interest in art, Rand was scolded by his father at a young age to pursue more academic opportunities. Even while following his father’s orders and attending prestigious schools, Rand felt he was not satisfied without art as a major part of life and became, as he said, “self-taught as a designer”. I found this to be very interesting and relatable to myself. Coming from an extended family of hard-working businesspeople, I have often wondered if art is truly a fulfilling path for me. I feel that I can learn a lesson from Paul Rand, however, in believing in myself and working hard to be successful and achieve great results.

IBM poster, Paul Rand, 1962 Paul Rand's iconic striped-letter logo is still in use today. This IBM poster gives a glimpse into Rand's whimsical advertising style. Source: http://www.phaidon.com/agenda/graphic-design/articles/2012/november/13/paul-rands-greatest-hits/
IBM poster, Paul Rand, 1962
Paul Rand’s iconic striped-letter logo is still in use today. This IBM poster gives a glimpse into Rand’s whimsical advertising style.
Source: http://www.phaidon.com/agenda/graphic-design/articles/2012/november/13/paul-rands-greatest-hits/

Works Cited:

Nunoo-Quarcoo, Franc. Paul Rand: Modernist Design. Baltimore, MD: Center for Art and Visual Culture, U of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2003. Print.

“Paul-Rand.com.” Biography. N.p., 11 Apr. 2007. Web. 26 July 2015.

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