In my freshmen year
in my college, one of my advertising class went to a field trip to one
of the well - known printing house in Chicago. Unexpectedly, I met Paul
Rand who become a my idol in my college year (1996). The printing house
did all of his works for years. He was quiet, serious, dedicated and extremely
well organized, but does also have a sense of fun. He was very honest
and open with his opinions, but also tactful when required. Loves projects.
At that time, I had a baby palette for my graphic design, but since I
met him, I could finally extended my palette to a new world. What do I
mean by the new world? Well, he developed a new technology and vocabulary
into the graphic design history.
Paul Rand (1914-1996)
was a the most influential figure of American graphic design who arrived
at his own distinctive visual language via the influence of European avant-garde
movements like Cubism, Constructivism and De Stijl. As an art director,
teacher, writer,! and design consultant for leading companies he was a
major force for designers, educators, and students worldwide. Known for
bringing the esthetics of modernist European movements to commercial art,
Rand is best known for having designed the corporate logos for such ubiquitous
brands as IBM, ABC networks, and UPS. Much has been written about Rand,
but most of it has been biographical work. His workseeking to place his
contributions within the context of the artistic, design, architectural,
and technological developments (book covers, posters, packages, textile,
and corporate identities) of the 20th century. His experimental work profoundly
influenced design in America, died of cancer at age 82. But Rand, a professor
emeritus at Yale, also illustrated children's books and authored many
seminal books on esthetics and design, including Thoughts on Design (1946),
his first book.
"Any system that
sees esthetics as irrelevant, that separates the artist from his product,
that fragments the art of the individual, or creates by committee, or
makes mincemeat of the creative process will in the long run diminish
not only the product but the maker as well," He wrote in Designer's
Art (1985). In 1930s, when American commercial art and advertising were
dominated by hard-sell copy and realistic Illustration, Rand introduced
the formal. He is the father of true graphic design. He knows what makes
good design, or design that communicates. He also knows what makes a good
client, one whom; "does no interfere.... does not tell you what to
do. And appreciates whatever the designer proposes..." The marketing
person knows their job... I do not tell them to target a certain audience,
so they should not tell me what graphic elements needs to go where."...Corporate
design stinks...this is use to the lack of great business leaders as well
as of good designers...what is evident is that somebody is not minding
the store, and that management does not re! ally appreciate the contribution
that design (art) can make, socially, aesthetically, and economically.
* Socially Design
can bind a people for a cause...it can control or moderate a government...it
can change or establish attitudes that benefit our environment...Design
All of this is only
possible through the acknowledgment and realization that design is critically
necessary for everyone. My point is
now and before, visual design involves much of the same important criteria:
psychology, philosophy, sociology, etc. typically needed to communicate
a message...effectively...the only differences are the designer can do
this without speaking word.
visionary...all describe Paul Rand, but none measures the true meaning
of his many contributions to the contemporary scene. He was a graphic
designer before the concept 'graphic design' existed. He is an artist
who has brought high standards of art to the world of business, and proved
their value. And he is a presence whose achievements prod all of us in
the visual arts to do better. There could be no more fitting subject for
a graphic arts publication such as the printing Salesman's Herald than
Paul Rand and his exciting work." (Edward Russell Jr.) He has been
a prime mover in establishing graphic design as a respected profession.
His continuing efforts have helped convince business leaders throughout
the world of the central importance of good design as an integral part
of a company's public posture. One of the primary reasons for his success
has been his ability to bridge the communication gap between artists and
businessman. Moholy-Nagy, w! orld-renowned painter and Bauhaus teacher,
said it best, perhaps, when he described Rand as'... an idealist and a
realist, using the language of the post and the businessman. He thinks
in terms of need and function. He is able to analyze his problem but his
fantasy is boundless.
The fully appreciate
his contribution to the graphic arts, it is important to consider in the
historical context of his times. He was born in Brooklyn, New York on
August 15, 1914, and educated in the New York area. The designer prepared
for his career before there were any formal programs in graphic design.
Instead, he studied art at Pratt institute, parsons School of Design and
the Art Students League with George Grosz. Between 1932 and 1934, he apprenticed
to George Switzer Studios. A self-study program in all the nuances of
the graphic design arts supplemented his formal training in fine art.
This blend of formal and informal training provided him with a firm foundation
for his exciting inspirational work for business and industry.
Throughout his career,
he was taken an active interest in education. This may have partially
resulted from the graphic arts educational vacuum that characterized the
period when he prepared for his profession. Whatever the reason, the result
is clear. He has become recognized as a leading educator. Throughout his
career, he has taught at a number of schools including Pratt Institute
in 1946 and Yale University in Tokyo; member of the visiting committee
of the department of graphic design at Carnegie Melon University; Benjamin
Franklin Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London; and member of
the Full bright Scholarship jury. Characteristically, his designs visually
communicate complex ideas with a refreshing simplicity. Each individual
design evolves from the unique constellation of factors that makes every
job unique. All of his designs are created with attention to aesthetic
considerations. Occasionally sprinkled with humor, his work invites reader
participat! ion, and it is always imaginative. His working relationships
with other people share a common element with his designs. They are never
contrived or artificial. He has the rare ability to come to the point
quickly without becoming entangled in extraneous details. Even while intensely
analyzing complex graphic problems and production details, he maintains
a casual, candid atmosphere.
I pick six the most interesting works and will describe each one.
IBM poster: This piece is the most famous among of his corporate identities. He uses visual pun, which can be as persuasive as it is informative and entertaining. He uses the actual eye and bee for the letter. Also the background is black color, so the icons are pop up more which is simple however it is really powerful to people. Because it has a humor and such a nice combination with typography and images, it is make people memorable.
AIGA book cover: The artist believes that whenever possible a design should be entertaining as well as informative. This cover design for the American Institute of Graphic Arts Journal is based on a visual pun, a play on the letter 'I' with the 'eye' of the clown.
Graphic Arts 50 Books: The effectiveness of a design is often dependent upon a small, visual cue. This is evident in the design for a folder for the American Institute of Graphic Arts 50 Books of the Year. To convey a more convincing idea of a bookshelf, one of the red shapes is tilted. In the original design, the numerals 5 and 0, which are formed by the red shapes, are more apparent, because a distinct amount of space separates the figures.
DADA book cover: This 1951 book jacket was deigned in keeping with the dynamics of the Dada movement, which began shortly after World War I as a reaction against conventional thought. Dadaists used conventional typography as a weapon to combat traditional thinking.
International Design Conference at Aspen: This colorful poster drew attention to the International Design Conference at Aspen in 1966. The theme of the conference was sources and resources of 20th century design. An egg was chosen as the predominant graphic element because of its symbolism as an example of perfect form and function. The irregular spots provide an interesting textual contrast to the oval shape of the egg. They also evoke the image of spotted birdŐs eggs.
IBM logotype: The
stripes of the IBM logo serve primarily as an attention getting device.
They take commonplace letters out of the realm of the ordinary. They are
memorable. They suggest efficiency and speed. The recent spate of striped
logos in the marketplace attests to their effectiveness. Visually, stripes
superimposed on a cluster of letters tend to tie them together. This is
especially useful for complex groupings such as the letters IBM, in which
each character gets progressively wider, thereby creating a somewhat uncomfortable,
open- ended sequence.
Paul Rand's work can
be divided up to three major parts which are the roles of humor, the symbol
in visual communication, and the rebus and the visual pun. *The role of
humor The notion that the humorous approach to visual communication is
undignified or belittling is sheer nonsense. This misconception as been
discredited by those entrepreneurs who have successfully exploited humor
as a means of creating confidence, goodwill, and a receptive frame of
mind toward an idea or product. Stressing the profound effects of entertainment,
Plato, in The Republic, declares: "Therefore do not use compulsion,
but let early education be rather a sort of amusement." The art of
ancient Chin, India, and Persia reflect a humorous sprit in the design
of masks, ceramics, and
paintings. American advertising in its infancy also demonstrated this
tendency toward humor in, for example, the cigar store Indian and the
medicine man. That humor is a product of serious contemporary thought
is revealed in the significant paintings and sculptures by, for instance,
Picasso, Miro, Ernst, Duchamp, and Dubuffet. "True humor," says
Thomas Carlyle, "springs not more from the head than from the heart;
it is not contempt, its essence is love, it issues not in laughter, but
in still smiles, which lie far deeper." *The Rebus and the Visual
A single letter says more than a thousand words. The dual reading is what makes such images memorable. They amuse as they inform. The rebus is a mnemonic device, a kind of game designed to engage the reader and, incidentally, lots of fun. The development of any visual image must begin with some tangible idea, conscious otherwise. It should come as no surprise that, more often than not, creative ideas are the product of chance, intuition, or accident, later justified to fit some prevailing popular theory, practical need, or formal obsession.
*The symbol in visual
communication. Because graphic design in the end, deals with the spectator,
and because it is the goal of the designer to be persuasive or at least
informative, it follows that the designerŐs problems are twofold: to anticipate
the spectatorŐs reactions and to meet hi won aesthetic needs. He must
therefore discover a means of communication between himself and the spectator
(a condition with which the easel painter need not concern himself). The
problem is not simple; its very complexity virtually dictates the solution-that
is, the discovery of an image universally comprehensible, one that translates
abstract ideas into concrete forms. (Paul Rand- A DesignerŐs Art)
He is also a painter, believes that graphic art is rooted in 'fine art.' The same factors that effect the development of the art movements affect graphic design. To a large measure, this is caused by the fact that painters and graphic designers share similar problems aesthetically and psychologically. Committed to the notion that a graphic designer should understand art history in order to enrich his work, he has surrounded himself with books, paintings and artifacts. In the following section, five pieces from his collection are shown. Each one has been printed on a paper, which most effectively evokes the original. The color separations were made directly from the originals. Rand was a major force in editorial design, advertising and corporate graphics. Art director of Esquire and Apparel Art magazines 1935-41, designer of outstanding covers for the cultural journal Direction 1938-45. He joined the Weintriub Advertising Agency, New York, and 1941-54 where his col! laboration with Bill Bernbach especially on the Orbach's department store campaign, pioneered the closer integration of design and copy.
us most in his works are their concise expression, their superfluity cast
aside, their bright and cheerful colors, and their powerful and solid
design sense. He is often said too have been one of the greatest, and
most "American," of AmericaŐs artists. The notion no doubt arose
from his explicit straightness and spirited brilliance-artistic sensibilities
inevitably born from an environment shaped by freedom. His urbane and
stylish ideas, his sophisticated messages, and his bright and witty humor
all symbolized the essence of American culture. And yet, symbol of America
through he is Paul Rand was, one should remember, a man
of profound intellectual and philosophical depth. He was especially enamored
of Eastern philosophy, and on occasion I detect very Japanese feelings
in his works. I am not referring to mere exoticism with a Japanese bent.
What I see is something much deeper and more spiritual. Indeed, his forms
are often more "Japanese" than those of most Japanese artists.
In his every work we marvel t the wondrous vitality we find there that
transcends all notions of time." (6 chapters)
At any rate, the young
Rand seemed unhampered by tradition. Too practical to be a painter, he
studied lettering and spent much time at the new York Public library studying
books and magazines on design and art- in particular those from Europe.
By age 24, he had established his graphic design as an art form. He was
hired as much for hi unique free-form designs as for his powerful personality.
Heller said Laszlo Moholy-Nagy of the Chicago Bauhaus recognized Paul
Rand as an American genius. Rand rarely seen warmth and impish humor came
through in his film wherein he discussed his work and pontificated to
several clearly terrified students. Rand mentioned no designers as influences,
but painter instead. (Al Gowan) Take the time right now to sign your name
on a piece of paper, and look at it. No one will ever sign your name like
you do, unless, perhaps, they were to practice for hours. We are all designers,
and each of us has our own style, which for various reasons has evolved
over the years. A signature is the evolution of form, content and style.
With each design, Paul Rand was able to capture the essence of these personal
factors in solving design problems. May Paul are designers, we have the
ability to communicate personally as artists. (Dan Vlahos)
He is one of the few
graphic designers practicing today whose work can be identified without
his signature and whose work has never been successfully imitated in spite
of the wide range of commissions he has handled over such a long period
of time. In an era when contemporary graphics are being progressively
homogenized by the pressure of fashion and group involvement, It is still
refreshing to encounter Paul RandŐs innovative and highly personal style.(www.commarts.com/creative/rand/rand.html#ad)
Urban brightness, humor, wit and simplicity in his works express the American
dream of US industrialized society, which then led the world economy.
Like Frank Lloyd Wright another American original, enjoyed a very long
career, achieved recognition young, and saw his principles adopted by
whole generations of practitioners. Such a long career inevitably passed
through greater and lesser periods of influence and recognition, but the
work always held up. His early work was groundbreaking, but it is with
the design of these major corporate logos from the mid-point of his career
that he distilled the essences of modernity and simplicity for his corporate
patrons, and set the standards for the art of the logo.
"He is a master
of design, making skillful use of typography, color and symbols in posters,
product advertisements, book jackets, trade marks, and more. His taste
and versatility are attested in the scores of examples, reproduced in
these pages... Mr. Rand has uncommon taste and sensibility, and his work
is as personal an expression as the painting of Miro or Matisse, and for
some of the same reasons... He has usually succeeded in being far more
than interesting. he has chosen his illustrations brilliantly to enlarge
upon the points made in the essays, and to show how he has given from
to the ideas enunciated in his texts..."(www.yale.edu/yup/books/082827.html)
He is one of the industry's greats, a pioneer of abstract and minimalist design. He also knows how to express himself in words. ŇHe has a magic touch with everything" (Art Direction). As I writing this paper, I realized that I really miss his work because we can no longer see his work anymore. I admire him the way that he tried new thing during that period which nobody even think about it. Not only he influenced so much in the graphic design history as a great graphic designer, but also he taught a young generation as a teacher. It will led onto many peopleŐs life (widen their mental horizon) in many ways. It is a good thing to do the good design makes pleasure to people as well as via education, we can make people think and develop.