15 de agosto de 1914 - 26 de noviembre de 1996
Paul Rand (born Peretz Rosenbaum, August 15, 1914 - November 26, 1996) was a well-known American graphic designer, best known for his corporate logo designs. Rand was educated at the Pratt Institute (1929-1932), the Parsons School of Design (1932-1933), and the Art Students League (1933-1934). He was one of the originators of the Swiss Style of graphic design. From 1956 to 1969, and beginning again in 1974, Rand taught design at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Rand was inducted into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 1972. He designed many posters and corporate identities, including the logos for IBM, UPS and ABC. Rand died of cancer in 1996.
Early life and education
Peretz Rosenbaum was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1914. As Orthodox Jewish law forbids the creation of graven images that can be worshiped as idols, Rand's career creating icons venerated in the temple of global capitalism seemed as unlikely as any. It was one that he embraced at a very young age, painting signs for his father's grocery store as well as for school events at P.S. 109. Rand's father did not believe art could provide his son with a sufficient livelihood, and so he required Paul to attend Manhattan's Harren High School while taking night classes at the Pratt Institute, though "neither of these schools offered Rand much stimulation." Despite studying at Pratt and other institutions in the New York area (including Parsons School of Design and the Art Students League), Rand was by-and-large "self-taught as a designer, learning about the works of Cassandre and Moholy-Nagy from European magazines such as [Gebrauchsgraphik]."
His career began with humble assignments, starting with a part-time position creating stock images for a syndicate that supplied graphics to various newspapers and magazines. Between his class assignments and his work, Rand was able to amass a fairly large portfolio, largely influenced by the German advertising style Sachplakat (ornamental poster) as well as the works of Gustav Jensen. It was at around this time that he decided to camouflage (and abbreviate) the overtly Jewish identity telegraphed by ‘Peretz Rosenbaum,' shortening his forename to ‘Paul' and taking ‘Rand' from an uncle to form his new surname. Morris Wyszogrod, a friend and associate of Rand, noted that "he figured that ‘Paul Rand,' four letters here, four letters there, would create a nice symbol. So he became Paul Rand." Peter Behrens notes the importance of this new title: "Rand's new persona, which served as the brand name for his many accomplishments, was the first corporate identity he created, and it may also eventually prove to be the most enduring." Indeed, Rand was rapidly moving into the forefront of his profession. In his early twenties he was producing work that began to garner international acclaim, notably his designs on the covers of Direction magazine, which Rand produced for no fee in exchange for full artistic freedom. Among the accolades Rand received were those of Moholy-Nagy:
Among these young Americans it seems to be that Paul Rand is one of the best and most capable [. . .] He is a painter, lecturer, industrial designer, [and] advertising artist who draws his knowledge and creativeness from the resources of this country. He is an idealist and a realist, using the language of the poet and business man. He thinks in terms of need and function. He is able to analyze his problems but his fantasy is boundless.
The reputation Rand so rapidly amassed in his prodigious twenties never dissipated; rather, it only managed to increase through the years as the designer's influential works and writings firmly established him as the eminence grise of his profession.
Although Rand was most famous for the corporate logos he created in the 1950s and 1960s, his early work in page design was the initial source of his reputation. In 1936, Rand was given the job of setting the page layout for an Apparel Arts magazine anniversary issue. "His remarkable talent for transforming mundane photographs into dynamic compositions, which [. . .] gave editorial weight to the page" earned Rand a full-time job, as well as an offer to take over as art director for the Esquire-Coronet magazines. Initially, Rand refused this offer, claiming that he was not yet at the level the job required, but a year later he decided to go ahead with it, taking over responsibility for Esquire's fashion pages at the young age of twenty-three.
The cover art for Direction magazine proved to be an important step in the development of the "Paul Rand look" that was not as yet fully developed. The December 1940 cover, which uses barbed wire to present the magazine as both a war-torn gift and a crucifix, is indicative of the artistic freedom Rand enjoyed at Direction; in Thoughts on Design Rand notes that it "is significant that the crucifix, aside from its religious implications, is a demonstration of pure plastic form as well . . . a perfect union of the aggressive vertical (male) and the passive horizontal (female)." In ways such as this, Rand was experimenting with the introduction of themes normally found in the "high arts" into his new graphic design, further advancing his life-long goal of bridging the gap between his profession and that of Europe's modernist masters.
Indisputably, Rand's most widely known contribution to graphic design are his corporate identities, many of which are still in use. IBM, ABC, Cummins Engine, Westinghouse, and UPS, among many others, owe their graphical heritage to him, though UPS recently carried out a controversial update to the classic Rand design. One of his primary strengths, as Maholy-Nagy pointed out, was his ability as a salesman to explain the needs his identities would address for the corporation. According to graphic designer Louis Danziger:
He almost singlehandedly convinced business that design was an effective tool. [. . .] Anyone designing in the 1950s and 1960s owed much to Rand, who largely made it possible for us to work. He more than anyone else made the profession reputable. We went from being commercial artists to being graphic designers largely on his merits.
Rand's defining corporate identity was his IBM logo in 1956, which as Mark Favermann notes "was not just an identity but a basic design philosophy that permeated corporate consciousness and public awareness." The logo was modified by Rand in 1960, and the striped logo in 1972. Rand also designed packaging and marketing materials for IBM from the early 1970s until the early 1980s, including the well known Eye-Bee-M poster. Ford appointed Rand in the 1960s to redesign their corporate logo, but afterwards chose not to use his modernized design.
Although his logos may be interpreted as simplistic, Rand was quick to point out in A Designer's Art that "ideas do not need to be esoteric to be original or exciting." His American Broadcasting Company trademark, created in 1962, epitomizes that ideal of minimalism while proving Rand's point that a logo "cannot survive unless it is designed with the utmost simplicity and restraint." Rand remained vital as he aged, continuing to produce important corporate identities into the eighties and nineties with a rumored $100,000 price per single solution. The most notable of his later works was his collaboration with Steve Jobs for the NeXT Computer corporate identity; Rand's simplistic black box breaks the company name into two lines, producing a visual harmony that endeared the logogram to Jobs. If ever there was a pleased client, it was indeed Steve Jobs: just prior to Rand's death in 1996, his former client labeled him, simply, "the greatest living graphic designer."
Influences and other works
Development of theory
Though Rand was a recluse in his creative process, doing the vast majority of the design load despite having a large staff at varying points in his career, he was very interested in producing books of theory to illuminate his philosophies. Maholy-Nagy may have incited Rand's zeal for knowledge when he asked his colleague if he read art criticism at their first meeting. Rand said no, prompting Moholy-Nagy to reply "Pity." Heller elaborates on this meeting's impact, noting that, "from that moment on, Rand devoured books by the leading philosophers on art, including Roger Fry, Alfred North Whitehead, and John Dewey." These theoreticians would have a lasting impression on Rand's work; in a 1995 interview with Michael Kroeger discussing, among other topics, the importance of Dewey's Art as Experience, Rand elaborates on Dewey's appeal:
[. . . Art as Experience] deals with everything-there is no subject he does not deal with. That is why it will take you one hundred years to read this book. Even today's philosophers talk about it[.] [E]very time you open this book you find good things. I mean the philosophers say this, not just me. You read this, then when you open this up next year, that you read something new.
As is obvious, Dewey is an important source for Rand's underlying sentiment in graphic design; on page one of Rand's groundbreaking Thoughts on Design, the author begins drawing lines from Dewey's philosophy to the need for "functional-aesthetic perfection" in modern art. Among the ideas Rand pushed in Thoughts on Design was the practice of creating graphic works capable of retaining their recognizable quality even after being blurred or mutilated, a test Rand routinely performed on his corporate identities.
Despite the prestige graphic designers place on his first book, subsequent works, notably From Lascaux to Brooklyn (1996), earned Rand accusations of being "reactionary and hostile to new ideas about design." Heller defends Rand's later ideas, calling the designer "an enemy of mediocrity, a radical modernist" while Mark Favermann considers the period one of "a reactionary, angry old man." Regardless of this dispute, Rand's contribution to modern graphic design theory in total is widely considered intrinsic to the profession's development.
Undoubtedly, the core ideology that drove Rand's career, and hence his lasting influence, was the modernist philosophy he so revered. He celebrated the works of artists from Paul Cezanne to Jan Tschichold, and constantly attempted to draw the connections between their creative output and significant applications in graphic design. In A Designer's Art Rand clearly demonstrates his appreciation for the underlying connections:
From Impressionism to Pop Art, the commonplace and even the comic strip have become ingredients for the artist's caldron. What Cezanne did with apples, Picasso with guitars, Leger with machines, Schwitters with rubbish, and Duchamp with urinals makes it clear that revelation does not depend upon grandiose concepts. The problem of the artist is to defamiliarize the ordinary.
This idea of "defamiliarizing the ordinary" played an important part in Rand's design choices. Working with manufacturers provided him the challenge of utilizing his corporate identities to create "lively and original" packaging for mundane items, such as light bulbs for Westinghouse.
1914 - 1939
* Born Peretz Rosenbaum, August 15, Brooklyn, New York
1929 - 1932
* Education: Pratt Institute, New York
* Education: Harren High School, New York
* Education: Parsons School of Design, New York
* Education: Art Students' League with George Grosz
* Illustrator: Metro Associated Services
* Design Assistant: George Switzer Studio
* Freelance: Glass Packer magazine
* Changes legal name from Peretz Rosenbaum to Paul Rand
1936 - 1941
* Art Director: Apparel Arts and Esquire magazines
* Trademark: Wallace Puppets
1938 - 1945
* Cover Designs: Direction magazine
* Trademark: Esquire magazine
* Instructor: New York Laboratory School
* Design: New York World's Fair brochure, an insert to PM Magazine
* Article: PM Magazine publishes first article about work
* Exhibition: Katherine Kuh Gallery, Chicago
* Article: AD Magazine, written by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
* Trademark: Coronet Brandy
1941 - 1955
* Art Director: William H. Weintraub Advertising Agency. Clients include:
- Coronet Brandy
- El Producto Cigar Company
- Disney Hats
- Stafford Fabrics
- Ohrbach's Department Store
- Dunhill Clothiers
- Kaufman Department Store
- Architectural Forum
* Instructor: The Cooper Union, New York
* Advertising: Stafford Fabrics
* Advertising: Ohrbach's Department Store
* Advertising: Kaufman Department Store
* Advertising: Architectural Forum
* Trademark: Cresta Blanca Wine Company
* First Book Jacket: The Cubist Painters by Guillaume Apollinaire
* Trademark: Helbros Watch Company
* Design: Perfume bottle made with crystal and gold wire
* First Book Design: The Tables of the Law by Thomas Mann
* Trademark: redesigns Borzoi Books
* Trademark: Smith, Kline and French Laboratories
* Begins designs for Architectural Forum
* Instructor: Pratt Institute, New York
* Advertising: Ohrbach's
* Advertising: Great Ideas of Western Man for Container Corporation of America
* Advertising: Disney Hats (1946-1949)
* Author: Thoughts on Design
* Exhibition: Composing Room, New York
* Exhibition: National Museum, Stockholm
* Advertising: Kaufman Department Store
* Trademark: Robeson Cutlery Company, Shur Edge
* Exhibition: Philadelphia Museum of Art
* Design: portfolio pairing writers and artists on the subject "Women for the Museum of Modern Art"
* Commissions modernist architect Marcel Breuer to design a bungalow in Woodstock, NY, but the project is never realized.
* Design: "The House in the Museum Garden" poster for Museum of Modern Art
* Design: cover for "Modern Art in Your Life"
* Design: catalog for the Arensberg Collection for the Art Institute of Chicago
* Trademark: Theatrical Architectural Television
* Commissions Marcel Breuer to design modernist house in Harrison, NY. They part ways during early construction stages.
* Design: "No Way Out" movie poster
* Designs Weston, CT house
1952 - 1957
* Advertising: El Producto, GHP Cigar Company
* Design: "Perspectives" covers
* Award: House design voted one of ten best in America
* Exhibition: Contemporary Art Museum, Boston
* Award: Voted one of the Ten Best Art Directors by New York Art Directors Club
* Honorary Degree: Tama University, Tokyo
* Design: RCA morse code advertisement
* Design: Interfaith Day Movement posters
* Design: Book covers for Vintage Book and Random House publishers
* Design: Magazine cover for "Idea", a Japanese visual arts magazine
1956 - 1991
* Consultant: International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
1956 - 1969
* Professor: Yale University, New Haven, CT
* Illustator: I Know a Lot of Things
* Trademark: IBM
* Design: begins designing book covers for Bollingren Series and Pantheon Books
* Illustrator: Sparkle and Spin
* Exhibition: AIGA Gallery, New York
* Exhibition: Art Directors' Club of Tokyo
* Design: Book cover for H.L. Mencken's "Prejudices: A Selection"
* Honorary Degree: Tama University, Tokyo
1959 - 1981
* Consultant: Westinghouse Electric Corporation
* Trademark: Colorforms
* Trademark: Consolidated Cigar Corporation
* Design: Book and book jacket for "Paul Rand: His Works from 1946 to 1958"
* Trademark: Westinghouse
* Author: Trademarks of Paul Rand
* Exhibition: Pratt Institute, New York
1961 - 1996
* Consultant: Cummins Engine Company
* Trademark: United Parcel Service (UPS)
* Trademark: American Broadcasting Company (ABC)
* Trademark: IBM 8-bar & 13-bar variations
* Trademark: Cummins Engine Company
* Illustrator: Little 1
* Citation: Philadelphia College of Art
* Design: "desi8n 63" poster for New York Art Directors Club
* Exhibition: Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh
* Exhibition: School of Visual Arts, New York
* Exhibition: Carpenter Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
* Trademark: Atlas Crankshaft
* Trademark: IIT Research Institute
* Author: Design and the Play Instinct
* Award: AIGA Gold Medal
* Trademark: Ford Motor Company logo re-design proposal
* Design: DADA book jacket
* Exhibition: Temple University, Philadelphia
* Trademark: U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau for Indian Affairs
* Design: Catalog cover and poste for AIGA (green foreground, clown face)
* Design: Redesigns Westinghouse packaging
* Exhibition: Louisiana Arts and Sciences Center, Baton Rouge
* Exhibition: IBM Gallery, New York
* Exhibition: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
* Illustrator: Listen! Listen!
* Design: IBM computer packaging
* Award: New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame
* Award: Royal Designer for Industry, Royal Society, London
* Trademark: Columbus Indiana Visitors' Center
1974 - 1993
* Professor: Yale University, New Haven, CT
* Honorary Degree: Philadelphia College of Art
* Exhibition: 107 Grafici del AGI, Castello Sforzesco, Milan
* Design: Minute Man poster for U.S. Department of the Interior
1977 - 1993
* Professor: Summer Design Program, Yale University and Brissago, Switzerland
* Exhibition: Wichita State University, Wichita, KS
* Exhibition: Pratt Institute, New York
* Exhibition: Philadelphia College of Art
* Honorary Degree: Philadelphia College of Art
* Trademark: Tipton Lakes Corporation
* Design: IBM poster on conversation
* Design: Eye-Bee-M poster
* Interview: AIGA Executive Director Carolyn Hightower for the Design Archive project
* Exhibition: Reinhold Brown Gallery, New York
* Design: Cover for Annual of the AIGA Graphic Design USA 3
* Trademark: AIGA (not used)
* Design: Poster for the Art Director's Club Hall of Fame Awards
* Exhibition: International Typeface Corporation Gallery, New York
* Author: A Paul Rand Miscellany, Design Quarterly
* Award: Type Director's Club Medal
* Author: Paul Rand: A Designer's Art
* President's Fellow: Rhode Island School of Design
* Honorary Degree: Pasons School of Design
* Honorary Degree: Yale University
* Trademark: Yale University Press
* Trademark: NeXT
* Trademark: Connecticut Art Directors Club
* Exhibition: Pratt Institute, New York
* Exhibition: the Design Gallery, Matsuya Ginza, Tokyo
* Honorary Degree: University of Hartford, Connecticut
* Honorary Degree: Kutztown University, Pennsylvania
* Exhibition: Universita Internazionale Dell' Arte, Florence, Italy
* Award: Florence Prize for Visual Communication
* Trademark: Mossberg & Company
* Trademark: PDR (Pastore DePamphilis Rampone)
* Honorary Degree: School of Visual Arts, New York
* Exhibition: School of Visual Arts Masters Series, New York
* Trademark: The Limited (not used)
* Trademark: Monell Chemical Senses Center
* Trademark: Irwin Financial Corporation
* Trademark and Design: Benjamin Franklin 200th Anniversary Celebration
* Exhibition: Joseloff Gallery, University of Hartford, Connecticut
* Trademark: Morningstar Investment Advisers
* Trademark: Okasan Securities Company
* Trademark: IDEO
* Exhibition: Ginza Graphic Gallery, Tokyo
1993 - 1996
* Professor Emeritus: Yale University, New Haven, CT
* Trademark: English First
* Trademark: Gentry Living Color
* Author: Design, Form, and Chaos
* Trademark: Accent Software International
* Trademark: Creative Media Center
* Trademark: USSB
* Trademark: Computer Impressions
* Trademark: XGA for IBM
* Conducts student critiques and delivers lecture at the Arizona State University
* Trademark: Norwalk Cancer Center
* Trademark: Enron
* Trademark: Doug Evans + Partners
* Trademark: Servador
* Author: From Lascaux to Brooklyn
* Honorary Degree: Pratt Institute, New York
* Exhibition and lecture: The Cooper Union, New York
* Lecture: final public appearance at MIT on November 14th
* Design: Cummins Engine 1996 Annual Report
* Died November 26 in Norwalk, CT
* Exhibition: 18th International Poster and Graphic Arts Festival of Chaumont (5/12 - 6/24), Paris France
* Exhibition: Masters of Graphic Design: UCLA Extension Catalog Covers
(6/7 - 8/31), West Hollywood, CA
* Award: One Club Hall of Fame inductee (10/17)
Paul Rand, (nacido como Peretz Rosenbaum, 15 de agosto de 1914 - 26 de noviembre de 1996). Fue un diseñador gráfico estadounidense muy reconocido, en gran parte por el diseño de marcas institucionales. Su educación incluye el Pratt Institute (1929-1932), el Parsons School of Design (1932-1933) y el Art Students League (1933-1934). Fue uno de los originadores del estilo tipográfico internacional suizo.
Desde adolescente, su trabajo ya mostraba una fuerza innovadora y vanguardística que no pasó desapercibida. Fue Director de Arte de la revista Esquire (1935) y de Apparel Arts -GQ- (1941) y de las portadas para el "Directions Cultural journal" entre 1938 y 1945. Fue pintor, conferencista, diseñador industrial y artista publicitario que puede plasmar su conocimiento y su creatividad sin límites. "Piensa en términos de necesidad y función."
Rand se destacó en el diseño editorial. Fue también recordado, por uno de sus empleados como la persona con "peor genio en el mundo". Rand puede presumir de la fama de ser un viejo gruñón que siempre critica o desprecia nuevas tendencias o conceptos en el diseño, derecho ganado gracias a que nunca cambió su postura o cuestionó la rectitud de su camino en cuanto al modernismo, y aun a pesar de las idas y vueltas que sufrió el diseño él jamás cambio.Más que ser un gruñón fue un revolucionario del diseño en Estados Unidos, gracias a su trabajo, que comenzado como un oficio, terminó como toda una profesión. Fue un gran defensor, líder y hasta inspiración del movimiento modernista, el cual era casi una religión para él. Un buen ejemplo a retratar es el siguiente: "Durante la ceremonia de su retrospectiva en el Cooper Union en octubre del 95 se le preguntó si el modernismo había muerto. Rand replicó:"Yo sigo vivo"." Otra de sus frases célebres, es:
"Hay una gran diferencia entre diseño abstracto sin contenido y diseño abstracto con contenido. Se puede ser un gran manipulador de la forma, pero si la solución no es la más apta, no tiene sentido" (1938, cuando describía las "tapas" o portadas, de la revista Direction)
Utilizando ésta simplicidad del modernismo, y con el uso geométrico limpio de espacio en blanco, creó algunas de las identidades corporativas estadounidenses más reconocibles, como IBM, Westinghouse, United Parcel Service, American Broadcasting Company (ABC) y el más reciente USSB (Servicio de Televisión por Satélite), reconocidos en todo el mundo.
Fue autor de varios libros sobre diseño. En 1935 creó su propio estudio en Nueva York y ya partir de 1956 se desempeñó como profesor de diseño gráfico en la Universidad de Yale en New Haven, Connecticut. Rand siguió el camino del diseño en gran parte hasta los noventa.
En 1984 le concedieron la medalla del "Type Director´s Club" presentándolo como a uno de quienes "han hecho contribuciones significativas a la vida, al arte, y al arte de la tipografía". Rand fue incluido en el "New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame" en 1972. Entre sus muchos premios se incluyen medallas de oro.
"Él fue un canal a través del cual el arte y el diseño modernos europeos -Constructivismo ruso, De Stijl holandés y el alemán Bauhaus- fueron introducidos al arte comercial americano". (cita textual profesada por Steven Héller en 1999). Con esto se puede ver que Rand exploró dentro del vocabulario formal, por así decirlo de los movimientos de vanguardia europeos. Dio lugar a un estilo gráfico único que fue caracterizado, como ya semencionó, por la simplicidad, y el acercamiento racional a las soluciones del problema.
La influencia de las vanguardias europeas en su trabajo cambió el arte comercial norteamericano, creando los principios formales del viejo continente "con la gracia y el humor nativo". Obviamente su "entrenamiento" en el arte comercial en New York hizo que comprendiera rápidamente lo que necesitaba el mercado, y así era como brindaba estas soluciones más adecuadas que las que ofrecía la "estética estándar" tan antifuncional que se solía utilizar. "Su pasión por las formas y los colores le siguió acompañando en la escuela: Rand era el encargado de pintar los carteles de los eventos escolares, responsabilidad que lo excusaba de asistir a clases "no tan interesantes" como gimnasia, matemáticas o inglés. Muy pronto el Sr. Rosenbaum entendió la fuerte vocación de su hijo y dejando de lado las leyes religiosas argumentó que el arte no era un modo de ganarse la vida. Pero al final Rand se salió con la suya, y a regañadientes su padre pagó los 25 dólares necesarios para que el joven Paul entrara en las clases nocturnas del Instituto Pratt y sin chistar."
Libros de Paul Rand
* "Thoughts on Design" en 1947
* "Paul Rand: a Designer's Art" en 1985.
The human animal discovered soon after it was perched up high on the evolutionary ladder that languishing on the "grunt and point" rung of communications was hardly a suitable posture for a sapient species. Eventually, a rather involved way of saying what had to be said was devised. At various stages of his advancing sophistication, it seemed as if man was about to be garroted by the complex strands of his invention. By inherent good fortune, however, language written or spoken developed a built-in system of popular reform. Once language begins to drag behind or move out of step with the man's myriad activities, it has to catch up or suffer the perils of decay. Unfortunately, visual language doesn't enjoy the same kind of continuous parental attention. The task of nourishing our visual rhetoric and communication falls to artists and designers who, by personal afflatus, are impelled to take on an imaginative guardianship.
History has been sufficiently beneficent to produce designers who could meet the existing challenges with appropriately imaginative solutions. Occasionally, history outdoes itself and produces a designer who imparts such startlingly new concepts to our visual language that the beneficiaries of the following decades are blessed with a wealth of visual idioms.
In 1937, two leading national magazines put their art directorial trust in the hands of a young designer only twenty-three years old. The designer was Paul Rand, a former student at Pratt Institute and Parson's School of Design, who had also studied with George Grosz, the celebrated figure of German Expressionism. Rand continued his ministrations at Esquire and Apparel Arts for four years. Any suspicion that Rand's art directorship might be a meteoric streak of bright precocity was abruptly put to rest by a number of astonishing covers he created for Apparel Arts and particularly for a small magazine called Direction. Early brightness was quickly recognized as the harbinger of genuine brilliance. Rand's subsequent work further established him as a mature designer of first rank and as an articulate theorist whose ideas would radically affect the shape and contour of contemporary visual design.
Rand's Apparel Arts covers of the early forties were primarily collages employing quasi-Dadaist ideas and techniques. By utilizing a commonplace object to have more than its conventional meaning, Rand actually antedated the satire of the "objet trouvé" art movement that arose at least two decades later. His most coherent project was the series of covers he produced for Direction. Appearing over a period of several years, these covers had a collective impact that was revolutionary. Each individual cover was a radically inventive departure from the prevailing editorial dross. By drawing upon the creative discoveries of a host of modern art movements, Rand linked the fine arts with popular graphic application. The imagination, vitality and quality of those covers have probably not been equaled by any editorial designer of recent times. Many of them have become classics. The memorable 1940 cover showing a photograph of a barbed-wire cross ranged against the casually written tag summed up with extraordinary poignancy the contradictory aspects of man's behavior to man. That interplay of ideas and his abstract use of large letterforms opened new modes of visual symbolism for all modern designers. Rand showed that even the simplest of objects, given different contexts, bears within it several thicknesses of meaning. It takes the magic of the designer to seize the concealed and make it apparent, and to transform the commonplace into the rare. By illuminating the potential of the graphic symbol, Rand presented contemporary design with one of its most functional aesthetic donations.
Rand eventually left the introspective fields of editorial design to take up the more combative challenges of advertising. For thirteen years, until 1954, he was the art director (now called creative director) for the William Weintraub Agency. Responding to that milieu with its new demands, Rand steadily broadened the scope of his work. Filmmaking for television was yet to be the focal advertising medium it is today. The printed page and the graphic problems of poster, book, promotional and package designs demanded Rand's total attention. He also taught intermittently at Pratt Institute and Cooper Union. In 1946 Rand compiled a statement of his personal observations and philosophy, which was published in a handsome book designed by him and titled "Thoughts on Design." It remains a lucid exposition of the anatomy of his thought, paralleling the clarity and directness of his work.
Rand's originality was as evident in advertising as it had been in his earlier editorial output. His approach was a remote cry from the bold word plays and simplistically designed advertising pages that abound today. Yet, oddly enough, the use of multiple meanings of one symbol, as well as the spirit of iconoclastic wit in today's advertising, bear considerable debt to the work of Paul Rand. Rand approached advertising much like an artist. Virtually every ad bore his personal stamp. If we can borrow a term from a group of contemporary filmmakers, Rand was an "auteur" art director. Rand searched out the potential graphic wealth that lay in the selling message itself, employing a host of visual devices to captivate the reader. And that they did. The playfulness and witty charm of the Ohrbach's campaign cleared away the thickets of convention that had suffocated contemporary advertising. Particularly in that series, his ability to grasp the familiar object and convert it into a charming yet commanding symbol was at a peak. Each campaign represented a personal visual journey that called for daring and imagination to set it apart from the surrounding banality. The Disney hat ads were exquisitely designed abstractions that kept the reader endlessly fascinated by the counterpoint between an antique Brummel figure and an up-to-the-minute chapeau. Each campaign was invested with a special kind of graphic humor. The hallmarks of his style were the studied casualness of the Rand script, a light and unselfconscious typography always accompanied with a refined sense of space. The campaigns are legion: Dubonnet, with its revival of Cassandre's imperishable man, the Coronet series with Rand's anthropomorphic brandy snifter, the kinetic abandon of the El Producto cigar boxes and ads, and the graphic legerdemain of the Kaiser-Frazer series.
Rand, a scholarly and sensitive typographer, found the most satisfying outlet for that gift in the numerous books he designed for sympathetic commercial publishers-special patrons who recognized Rand's exceptional typographic genius.
In 1954 Rand ended the agency phase of his career. By this time, his abilities had become universally recognized. A larger aesthetic canvas was needed-one that would give continuity and dimension to the full scope of his concepts. This could only be realized by his functioning as an independent designer. Rand became the design consultant to numerous large and influential companies-IBM, Westinghouse, and United Parcel Service, among others. He brought these companies into a position of graphic esteem, establishing for them corporate design programs of human proportion. Corporate communication, he has shown, can be socially enriching if it is intelligently conceived and imaginatively executed. Because of his exquisite sense of visual symbolism, Rand is continually called upon to design trademarks for a host of business enterprises, many of which have become renowned. Apart from his very active and far-flung design practice, he has continued his interest in education, occasionally teaching and lecturing. As a steady and perceptive writer on design, he continues to expand his list of articles.
Early in Rand's career, E. McKnight Kauffer, acclaimed poster artist, said of Rand in the introduction to "Thoughts on Design": "These 'reflections' reveal a thought, and by the examples of his work, a practice that is a composite pattern. He does not say one thing and do another nor do one thing and say another...his conceptions (theory) guide his feelings, and in turn his feelings (sensibility) humanize his conceptions."
Because Rand has kept and nourished the faith, we are that much richer. Design can communicate that much more because of his additions to our visual language. History, it was observed earlier, manages to provide us with benefactions and Paul Rand is one of those special gifts to our time.