Paul Rand (1914 – 1996)

Although I was introduced to Paul Rand's work in school, it wasn't until working on my first freelance project after graduating that I really took notice. I needed inspiration for an identity I was designing and my professor lent me an original process book made by Rand for the presentation of his NeXT computers identity. His book outlined every reason for every step, every color, every angle, and every shape he used in creating his identity. There was nothing useless or unintentional. His process and his philosophy helped me to work out the identity I was working on, and I often turn to his identities for inspiration whenever I need it.

NeXT Brand Presentation Book
Photos of NeXT process book from Paul-Rand.com


Laszlo Moholy-Nagy described Paul Rand as “an idealist and a realist using the language of the poet and the businessman. He thinks in terms of need and function. He is able to analyze his problems, but his fantasy is boundless.¹” It is a beautiful quote accurately illustrating Rand's style and approach. It is this philosophy that makes Rand's art successful and endure.

NeXT Brand Presentation Book

“Paul Rand was a four-career man. At the age of 23, Rand began his career as art director of Esquire and Apparel Arts. His extensive design education inspired his distinct style – a marriage of modern typography with nineteenth-century engravings. The transition to his second career in advertising was marked by a series of cover designs for "Direction," a culture magazine publishing avante-gardists such as Le Corbusier and Jean Cocteau. Rand worked for free, claiming that the removal of financial obligation inspired more honest art. The covers immediately caught New York's attention with their propaganda-free style, identifiable imagery, and often hand-written text. As an ad designer, Rand worked on projects for Orbach's department store and for various brandy and cigar companies.

In 1954, Rand began his third career in corporate identification. He collaborated with giants such as IBM, ABC, and UPS to create their internationally recognized logos.

Towards the end of his life, Rand taught at several colleges and universities. He published children's books with his wife, Ann Rand, which are notable for their clear and youthful style. They lived for many years in Weston, Connecticut, in a home of Paul's own design. Paul Rand died in 1996.”

Samples of Paul Rand’s Identity Work

Paul Rand Logos

Books by Rand:

Books About Rand: