Paul Rand
August 9, 2010 12:56 PM   Subscribe

Paul Rand was one of the great graphic designers of modern times, designing among other things, logos for Westinghouse, ABC, IBM and UPS. The website has galleries of book design, posters, logos, and much more (open images in new tab or window to see the full-sized image, some books have image galleries, look for a "see inside" button). You can also read his thoughts on design, watch interviews and videos about him, and follow the many links to interesting online Randiana.
posted by Kattullus (24 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
He's like the mirror universe Rand Paul... I can only presume he has a goatee of some sort.
posted by modernnomad at 1:01 PM on August 9, 2010 [7 favorites]

But all joking aside, after going through those links that's a pretty impressive career output.
posted by modernnomad at 1:05 PM on August 9, 2010

It's always sad when they replace one of his classics. UPS and Yale University Press are two of the most recent. The UPS one is just awful and those gradients will look dated in a week and the Yale one is just boring (although that was intentional).
posted by smackfu at 1:19 PM on August 9, 2010

It's a shame that one of his last works was the logo for Enron.
posted by octothorpe at 1:19 PM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh yes, Paul Rand's body of work is amazing. Anyone with toddlers will enjoy the childrens books he made with his wife as they look great. Also, he's wise enough to have said Don't try to be original. Just try to be good.
Bonus link, the One Show Tribute film for his posthumous induction to the One Club Hall of Fame in 2007 is good too
posted by dabitch at 1:20 PM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Enron had a nice logo.
posted by Pants! at 1:26 PM on August 9, 2010

Enron had a nice logo.
I was actually sad when I learned it was a Rand creation. It's a real toad of a logo.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:40 PM on August 9, 2010

Enron? Ugh. I was a fan of his earlier work that still had lots of humor in it when it can be read both a style element and an illustration, like the ribbon on the UPS parcel. Or like the smiling freckled kids face you see in the Country Club Ice Cream Company logo.
posted by dabitch at 1:44 PM on August 9, 2010

Neat. I suspect I've misattributed a bunch of his work to Charley Harper.
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on August 9, 2010

Nice post. Here's a little "filter" for some good content. For up-and-coming designers, actually for *any* designer, spending some time looking at Rand's work on Direction magazine will reap many rewards.

Here's a link to some of the covers he created.
posted by jeremias at 1:47 PM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Anyone with toddlers will enjoy the childrens books he made with his wife
posted by scrowdid at 3:03 PM on August 9, 2010

Fair point scrowdid. God knows I've read "Little 1" a hundred times without any kids around. ;)
posted by dabitch at 3:34 PM on August 9, 2010

am dyslexic and it took me more than a minute to realize this wasn't Rand Paul's secret profession :D
posted by liza at 3:44 PM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sometimes Paul Rand gets angry.
posted by bkudria at 8:03 PM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

OS/2 Operating System (IBM)


(Also not used)
posted by the noob at 9:06 PM on August 9, 2010

I like these kinds of logos. Simple, memorable, adaptable. He sort of reminds me of Chermayeff & Geismar ( they did NBC, National Geographic, the US Bicentennial. There's actually a really neat video that morphs their logos. Anyway, that might be off-topic, but I really liked this post.
posted by thebenman at 9:22 PM on August 9, 2010

As a designer, this Paul Rand quote has always entertained me. This was when he was approached by Steve Jobs to do the brand mark for NEXT. Steve Jobs wanted a few options to pick from, and asked if he would get them. Rand replied:

No, I will solve your problem for you, and you will pay me.
posted by braksandwich at 9:44 PM on August 9, 2010

Meanwhile, GQ magazine reports that during college at Baylor -- from which he never graduated -- Rand Paul kidnapped a coed, tried to force her to take bong hits, and made her worship a false idol named "Aqua Buddha" on her knees, blindfolded, in a creek.
posted by msalt at 10:43 PM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

One of the lesser known identities Rand did was for a printing company in South Bend, IN called Mossberg & Co. They specialize in highly faithful reproduction of color, among other things. Last year, I was lucky enough to tour Mossberg's facilities with a design class I was in at the time, and the owner of the place came by and had a little conversation with the class, during which the logo came up, and by extension, Rand himself. One of my classmates asked "well what was he like," to which the owner responded with this story:

First of all Rand essentially did the identity for Mossberg as a (probably pretty expensive) favor to the company because he liked their services a bunch. He would patronize them regularly with some big-name jobs, both before and after the logo got made. As a well-known perfectionist and cranky fucker, he would often come in to watch his stuff getting printed to make sure the color and everything was perfect, which was a big ordeal that involved him grouching around the print floor and then going for lunch with the owner afterward. One of these times, the owner was walking Rand out on the print floor to look at some proofs as they came off the big eight-color press when Rand essentially disappeared. He was following the guy one minute, and then he was gone. After a short frantic search, he finds Rand all the way on the other side of the press, hunched over and rubbing the unprinted paper stock in the hopper, sort of caressing it and feeling the texture.
(all basically shouted over the din of a running print floor)
"You know, this is some really nice paper stock"
"Yes, Paul, you were the one that picked it"
"I know. It's really nice paper."
"Yeah, Well come on Paul, we really need you on the other end of the press to look at proofs, not over here."
"Yeah yeah, just give me one more minute with this paper before your people go and fuck it all up."
(caressing continues)
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 10:49 PM on August 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ha ha! That's a great story. And a that's pretty nice logo he gave them.
posted by dabitch at 1:15 AM on August 10, 2010

Conversations with Paul Rand, Preston McLanahan interviewing Paul Rand, the great American Modernist designer. Filmed in 1996.

note I'm not mentioning that other guy. I find it a tad annoying that even Google brings him up.
posted by dabitch at 1:21 AM on August 10, 2010

As a Kentuckian and a graphic designer, I've been wanting to make a Paul Rand for Senate bumper sticker for my car, but since there's only about 30 people in the whole state who would get the joke It's just not worth it for the other 4 million who'd think I was another frikin' teabagger.
posted by Mcable at 7:46 AM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

The noob: IBM did use that logo for I think the 2.x versions of OS/2.
posted by BaxterG4 at 9:57 AM on August 10, 2010

Scott Lindberg has a nice collection of his book covers on flickr. (Once you see enough of his book covers, you will start to notice his distinctive style everywhere you look in used bookstores.)

Also on flickr, Grain Edit's Paul Rand fan club.
posted by ajourneyroundmyskull at 1:13 PM on August 10, 2010

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