Paul Rand

Paul Rand was a American Graphic Designer and Art Director that was best known for his Corporate Logo Designs, including some of his work for IBM, UPS, Enron, etc.

What was really significant about Rand’s work was that he was one of the first American designers/artists to incorporate the Swiss International Style.

The Swiss style came about from Europe, around the 1920’s from the teachings of the Bauhaus movement. Some students of the Bauhaus movement came to America seeking refuge from WWII, and it was this search for refuge that ultimately influenced Design internationally. The Swiss Typographic movement involved the use of typography and a simplistic design to enhance the visual aspect of the typographic aesthetic.

Early Career

One of Rand’s Early Works: Sparkle and Spin

Rand mostly started with small assignments, starting with a part-time position making images for newspapers and magazines. Rand would cultivate his portfolio in-between classes, his work influenced by designers like Gustav Jensen and the Sachplakat style.

Paul Rand changed his name from Peretz Rosenbaum, to hide the seemingly Jewish heritage it carried, as around this time WWII was near and Hitler had started to rise in power.

Hitler was rising in power, but this didn’t stop Rand from also rising in power in the design world. Rand created legendary works during his 20’s that really defined who he is today. Even after Rand’s rise as a designer, his work in his early 20’s never really died in popularity, as they seemed to increase in value as Rand got more popular.

Corporate Identities

A set of the many logos that Paul Rand had made

What Paul Rand was best known for. Rand created works for companies like IBM, ABC, UPS, and other major companies. He was the one that created one of the first logos for these companies, with the design changing very slightly over the years.

Rand’s designs were so strong that he could single handedly convince businesses to follow the image of a logo. Rand really taught the future the importance and the weight that a logo can hold and how it can influence companies. A former client also commented on Rand himself after his death, stating “Rand was the greatest living Graphic Designer.”.

Personal Insights

One of Rand’s Modernist work, “No Way Out”.

Paul Rand is definitely one of the most important graphic designers when it comes to American Graphic Design. He slowly changed our perceptions of logos, and also revolutionized a whole new movement that was unknown to America for the first time. Many other great graphic designers would also take inspiration from Rand, creating many other legacies and paths towards the future just like how Rand did.