Paul Rand (born Peretz Rosenbaum, August 15, 1914 – November 26, 1996) was a well-known American graphic designer, best known for his corporate logo designs. He designed many posters and corporate identities, including the logos for IBM, UPS, ABC and Westinghouse.
Paul Rand portrayed abstract ideas with clarity that resonated with viewers. In his work, Rand recast modern art as something innocuous for the average patron, and no longer a radical political manifesto. This adoption of modernist ideas to mainstream communication shifted the work from rebellious to insightful.
One of his strengths was his ability as a salesman to explain the needs his identities would address for the corporation. Rand used the avant garde movements as inspiration for his own style. He came to appreciate a relationship between geometric form and color through the works of artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Adolphe Mouron Cassandre and Moholy Nagy as well as an understanding of line through the works of artists such as Paul Klee. Rand developed elements from these artists and fused them with the American Modernist Movement that grew out of the 1930’s.
Modernism was a movement that continued to change and grow as the twentieth century progressed. During Rand’s time, modernist art expression started to merge with American pop culture. Other designers of the time, such as Lester Beall, Saul Bass and Bradbury Thompson embraced this exposure of design to the mainstream through advertising, logo design, poster design, book jackets, packaging, etc. Most of these artist’s works from the time incorporate bold color, basic geometric form, playful typography and an obvious experimentation with formal decision-making. These elements are repeated in Paul Rand’s work but in a style that is indicatively his own.
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