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Identitatis / Identity


[aɪˈdɛntɪtɪ] n. pl. -ties 1. the state of having unique identifying characteristics held by no other person or thing 2. the individual characteristics by which a person or thing is recognized


Copyright Š Adrian Devara, 2013 First published 2013 AD Publishing 6545 Katella Ave Cypress, CA 90630 www.adpublishing.com Email: devara@adpublishing.com Phone: 209 555 535 7 Fax: 209 555 535 8 All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a database and retrieval system or transmitted in any form or any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording etc.) without the prior written permission of both the owner of copyright and the above publishers. Original illustrations by Paul Rand and Adrian Devara Printed in Indonesia Paul Rand: Identitas Devara, Adrian ISBN 0-9500147-3-1


iv

Contents

1

Forewords and Introduction

3

The King of Logo Design

7

The Four Principles of a Logo

13

Logos

16

Epilogue


Paul Rand was born Peretz Rosenbaum, on August 15th, 1914 In Brooklyn, and is reknowned for his corporate logo designs. 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. Identitatis is about Rand’s identity works, which propelled his name into fame. This book tries to encapsulate the many stories behind Paul Rand and his logos.


Rand’s “eye bee m” graphic for IBM

Think of three resonant, established logos, and, chances are, at least one of them was created by Rand, the father of modern branding. With his succinct philosophy that “the trade mark should embody in the simplest form the essential characteristics of the product or institution being advertised,” Rand practically created the corporate logo design culture. Were IBM, Westinghouse, UPS, or ABC on your list? All Rand’s. Rand wrote manual after manual for in house designers about how to polish their logos, but he also knew how to have fun with the process and ratchet down the corporatism and jargon. One of his posters for IBM replaced the “I” and the “B” with an eye and a bee, leaving only the signature striped “M.” (Management embargoed it, on the grounds that “It wasn’t IBM.”) In a Westinghouse annual report, Rand showed the sticks and dots of the “W” being blown away.A trendsetter for decades, Rand ran into criticism from

younger designers after the 1991 publication of “From Cassandre to Chaos,” in the AIGA Journal of Graphic Design. His article was a criticism of “deconstructive” or “expe rimental” graphics, a movement that was new and hip and had a growing number of fans at the time. Reviews of his second book, Design, Form and Chaos (1993), made him sound cranky and defensive: “Rand’s wholesale condemnation of recent design becomes a blunt instrument for dismissing whatever comes in his path,” J. Abbott Miller wrote in Graphis in 1993. His ultimate appearance, at MIT, earned him an invitation to teach at the cutting-edge Media Lab from a professor of aesthetics and computation--two academic disciplines that Paul Rand, the hard-working aesthete, employed by the century’s largest computer conglomerates, probably never studied.


Paul Rand is possibly the most organized and systematic designer ever, but he is also one of the few who has the most unusual work ethos among his peers, even with today’s more relaxed standards. is Rand’s brash presentation style. He usually gave corporate chiefs only one logo to “choose” from, accompanied by a booklet explaining why his design was not merely attractive, but inevitable. “I was convinced that each typographic example on the first few pages was the final logo design,” Steve Jobs recalls of Rand’s book for NeXT, which showed the four letters, then paired them with the comput er’s signature black box, and then ar ranged them in a square. Jobs thought he was getting lovely typography, but Rand’s final logo was more than that. “I was not quite sure what Paul was doing until I reached the end. And at that moment I knew we had a solution... Rand gave us a jewel, which in retrospect seems so obvious.”


is the story behind the logo maker’s own moniker. “He figured that ‘Paul Rand,’ four letters here, four letters there, would create a nice symbol,“ remembers a friend. Then he proceeded to affix the icon of his identity--no naming consultant could have planned it better--to every piece of his work, including that for clients. He threatened to quit when one boss asked him to remove his name from a Dubonnet ad in the 1940s. It was the only advertising he ever had to do. And someone else paid to distribute his brand.

is the fact that Rand, who almost single-handedly brought European modern graphic design to the United States, got his entire import out of the pages of a magazine--a single copy of Gebraushgrafik, from a tiny bookstore next door to the Brooklyn Paramount. No Bauhaus pilgrim better understood the power of grids and the burning need “to turn down the typographic volume” in American advertising. Exactly why Rand felt such affinity for Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, A.M. Cassandre, and E. McKnight Kauffer is shrouded in mystery, but it’s clear that he was always a stranger in a strange land. Born in 1914, his first drawings were of the Palmolive babes from the ads hanging in his father’s Brooklyn store. In high school,

he attended Pratt by night. Rand changed his name from Peretz Rosenbaum while looking for his first job. He was one of the few Jews in the advertising world then.


A formative moment arrived when Rand met one of his idols, Hungarian Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy. At their meeting, Moholy-Nagy asked if Rand read art criticism. When Rand said “no,” Moholy-Nagy reportedly replied “Pity.” From that point onward, Rand began reading art criticism and philosophy as much as he could. After catching up on his art theory, Rand began to philosophize about his own work — what logos are, what they are not, what they are capable of being. 4 principles came out of that thought, and it serves as the basis of his works.


A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around. It is only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation that a logo takes on any real meaning. 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.


Distinctive. Memorable. Clear. Surprising to many, the subject matter of a logo is of relatively little importance, and even appropriateness of content does not always play a significant role.


Presentation is key. How to present a new idea is, perhaps, one of the designer’s most difficult tasks. Everything a designer does involves presentation of some kind–not only how to explain (present) a particular design to an interested listener (client, reader, spectator), but how the design may explain itself in the marketplace…


Simplicity is not the goal. It is the byproduct of a good idea and modest expectations


Paul Rand made some of the most recognizable and iconic logos that has ever been made in the history of graphic design. His works are what a logo should look like: simple, recognizable from a distance, and unique yet applicable to the product. IBM, ABC, UPS, and many more. He always emphasized how logos are simply marks, and that his logos does not necessarily need to represent the products of his clients. His works are always simple and geometric, and he gives only one option to his clients, along with a thick booklet of how his logos are made and why he made the logo that way, usually with his 50+ sketches that leads to the final one he gives to the client.


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Most people know that ABC does stand for The American Broadcasting Company (far less know that CBS actually stands for Columbia Broadcasting System) but, in 1962, ABC was known by it’s long handed name. Rand changed all that. He simplified the logo and made it bolder. The American Broadcasting Company soon became known simply as “ABC.”


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For UPS Rand’s challenge was to transform the out-of-date shield into a modern image. He streamlined the contours, used a lower case letter and placed a simple drawing of a package on the top of the shield. “I didn’t try anything else,” Rand admitted. “If you show them more than two ideas” Rand would say, “you weaken your position. (...) You make one statement, and this is it”. This doesn’t mean Rand’s ideas always came floating, He often made fifty sketches before showing one. “If you think it comes easily, it’s not easy. I can solve any problem in the world, but it does not always come instant ly.”* But very often the first idea that came into his mind was the solution.


In 1966 Henry Ford hired design icon Paul Rand to redesign the Ford logo, Rand’s version ultimately was nixed because it was “too radical a switch.” The Spencerian script carried through and was ultimately given a facelift in 2003 with a smooth gradient treatment so commonplace today. While the current logo is an icon, it’s an interesting thought that Paul Rand’s design still holds up today. Simply put, we love it. The tail of the “F”, the abstracted “r,” it all communicates forward thinking, modernism, innovation and a stylistic integrity. With no ornamentation, no unnecessary flair, the mark speaks to Rand’s pursuit of concise and simple visual communication.

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Westinghouse Electric was, in 1960, one of the most powerful corporations in the United States. The basis of their success was originally the sale of energy. Rand’s logo is a simple W in a circle with the circles on the ascenders of the W signifying energy currents. It’s absolutely brilliant in it’s simplicity and execution.


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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. The stripes were introduced as a half-toning technique to make the IBM mark slightly less heavy. Two variations of the “striped” logo were chosen (one with thicker lines, one with thinner lines), the mark with thicker lines has become the

Pantone 285 CV C91 M43 Y0 K0 company’s default mark. Rand also designed packaging, marketing materials and assorted communica tions for IBM from the early 1970s until the early 1990s, including the well known Eye-Bee-M poster. Ford appointed Rand in the 1960s to rede sign their corporate logo, but afterwards chose not to use his modernized design.


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Before Apple acquired NeXT in 1996, Steve Jobs approached Paul Rand. Typically when someone requests a brand identity from a graphic designer, they would ask for several concepts so they can choose the one they like most, and this is exactly what Jobs did. Paul Rand did not respond to Steve Jobs like the average Designer does, he had the guts to say some thing to Jobs that not only convinced him with the brand’s logo design along with a 100-page brochure detailing the brand, but earned him $100,000 and impressed Steve Jobs to the point that he would talk about his experience with Rand for 7 whole minutes during one of his interviews: Steve Jobs on working with Rand states: “I asked him if he would come

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up with a few options, and he said, ‘No, I will solve your problem for you and you will pay me. You don’t have to use the solution. If you want options go talk to other people.” This earned him a $100.000 contract with apple and impressed mr. Jobs himself, who talked about him in a 7-minute interview and once stated that Rand is “the greatest living graphic designer”


Paul Rand was a celebrated graphic designer, a lecturer, and in the truest sense of the word, a legend. Dealing in the field of advertisement, editorial work and branding, his works are timeless. In the words of László Moholy-Nagy, famed Bauhaus professor, and Rand’s idol:

“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.”


“A logo does not sell, it identifies.�


All Right s Reserved 2013

Paul Rand | Identitatis  

A brief history of Paul Rand's greatest logo work and his rise to fame. A typography class final project.

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