“Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.”
— Paul Rand
Photo by Al Cheruk
Even after his death in 1996, Paul Rand remains one of the most famous graphic designers in the world.
Born Peretz Rosenbaum on August 15th, 1914, he’s most reknowned for his corporate logos.
Rand was educated at the Pratt Institute (1929–1932), 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 on November 26th, 1996, and is buried in Beth El Cemetery In Norwalk, CT.
“Should a logo be self-explanatory? It is only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation that a logo takes on any real meaning. It derives its meaning and usefulness from the quality of that which it symbolizes. If a company is second rate, the logo will eventually be perceived as second rate. It is foolhardy to believe that a logo will do its job immediately, before an audience has been properly conditioned.”
“A logo does not sell (directly), it identifies.”
“I do not use humour consciously, I just go that way naturally. A well known example is my identity for United Parcels Service: to take an escutcheon – a medieval symbol which inevitably seems pompous today – and then stick a package on top of it, that is funny.”
Paul Rand videos
- Steve Jobs interview about working with Paul Rand (1993)
- Steven Heller interviews Paul Rand (1994)
- Paul Rand Tribute Film (2007)
Thanks to those who compiled the features and chat below.
Rand on modernism
“I haven’t changed my mind about modernism from the first day I ever did it…. It means integrity; it means honesty; it means the absence of sentimentality and the absence of nostalgia; it means simplicity; it means clarity. That’s what modernism means to me…”