PAUL RAND (August 15, 1914 – November 26, 1996) was an American art
director and graphic designer , best known for his corporate logo
designs, including the logos for
Rand was a professor emeritus of graphic design at
* 1 Early life and education * 2 Early career * 3 Corporate identities * 4 Later years
* 5 Influences and other works
* 5.1 Development of theory
* 5.1.1 Criticism
* 5.2 Modernist influences
* 6 Bibliography * 7 References * 8 External links
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
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
as well as the works of Gustav Jensen. It was around this time that he
decided to camouflage the overtly
Among these young Americans, it seems to be that
The reputation Rand so rapidly amassed in his prodigious twenties never dissipated; rather, it only managed to increase through the years as his influential works and writings firmly established him as the _éminence 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_ (now _GQ )_ 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 "
_ Eye Bee M_ poster designed by Rand in 1981 for
Rand's most widely known contributions to design are his corporate
identities , many of which are still in use.
“ 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
Although the 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 Westinghouse trademark,
created in 1960, 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 design. The
most notable of his later works was his collaboration with Steve Jobs
Rand devoted his final years to design work and the writing of his memoirs. In 1996, he died of cancer at age 82 in Norwalk, Connecticut. He is buried in Beth El Cemetery.
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.
László Moholy-Nagymay have
incited Rand's zeal for knowledge when he asked his colleague, at
their first meeting, if he read art criticism. Rand said no, prompting
Moholy-Nagy to reply "Pity." Heller elaborates on this meeting's
impact, noting; "from that moment on, Rand devoured books by the
leading philosophers on art, including
“ 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 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. ”
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 recognizable quality even after being blurred or mutilated, a test Rand routinely performed on his corporate identities.
During Rand's later career, he became increasingly agitated about the rise of postmodernist theory and aesthetic in design. In 1992, Rand resigned his position at Yale in protest of the appointment of postmodern and feminist designer Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, and convinced his colleague, Armin Hofmannto do the same. In justification of his resignation, Rand penned the article "Confusion and Chaos: The Seduction of Contemporary Graphic Design," in which he denounced the postmodern movement as "faddish and frivolous" and "harbor its own built-in boredom".
Despite the importance graphic designers place on his book _Thoughts on Design_, subsequent works such as _From Lascaux to Brooklyn_ (1996), compounded accusations of Rand being "reactionary and hostile to new ideas about design." Steven Heller defends Rand's later ideas, calling the designer "an enemy of mediocrity, a radical modernist" while 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.
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 Cézanneto 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 cauldron. What Cézanne did with apples, Picasso with guitars, Léger 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. ”
* Rand, Paul (1985). _Paul Rand: A Designer's Art_. New Haven : Yale University Press . ISBN 978-0300082821 . * Rand, Paul (1994). _Design, Form, and Chaos_. New Haven : Yale University Pr