Paul Rand

Paul Rand is one of the most famous and influential graphic designers of the 20th century. His work on corporate logos and advertising set the standard for modern marketing standards and practises. Paul Rand was born in 1914 in Brooklyn New York as Peretz Rosenbaum but later changed his name to Paul Rand. Over his career Rand has worked in most areas of graphic design creating logos, book covers, corporate advertising, magazine covers and more. Whilst being most well known for his now iconic logos, he was first recognised for his covers of Apparel Arts magazine. His corporate logos are what have solidified his legacy and helped to transform the way companies started to think about branding and identity. His biggest success was with IBM where he took an outdated logo and created a now iconic brand. He first created a solid black version but later refined it by adding horizontal stripes to help add dynamism. Another of his IBM pieces was the ‘Eye Bee M’ poster that featured a symbol of an eye, a bee and the letter M in a row to symbolise the companies name IBM. This was a very influential poster and the Bee icon from the poster now features as the favicon of IBM’s website. He also went on to design the logo for Steve Jobs’ new computer company NeXT after Jobs left Apple. Jobs wanted to capture the same branding Apple had, which was being recognisable by just a symbol but this kind of association requires time for people to associate the two things together. Rand got round this by featuring the companies name in a black cube shape creating a recognisable symbol but featuring the brands name. Other notable logos he created are ABC, English First and Enron. Another revolution that Rand pioneered was the Logo presentation books, that where booklets that he would give to clients that contained the logo idea along with iterations and experiments that could take the client on a journey of how the logo was created. These booklets and the work that went into them became a piece of design on its own and were novel ways of communicating an idea to a client. Rand also worked on Annual financial reports, seen as a boring information heavy reading Rand brought design and interest to these reports infusing them with art and graphics to make it a more interesting read and a visual piece of design. Rand also taught as a professor at Yale University as well as writing several books that are viewed as important literature on design. He died in 1996 of cancer at the age of 82.

IBM Logo
Eye Bee M Poster
IBM Annual Reports