Born in August 15th the year 1914 in Brooklyn at the city of New York, Paul Rand was a well known Graphic Designer. From 1929 to 1932, he studied in the Pratt Institute, before enrolling in the Parsons School of Design in the Year 1932 to the year 1933.In 1933; he joined the New York Art Students League until 1934. Rand had a passion for design at a very tender age, and used to paint signs for school events as well as for his father’s grocery store. Because his father believed that art alone was not enough for his son’s livelihood, Rand was enrolled in Manhattan’s Harren High School while taking classes at the Pratt institute during the night (Area of Design, 1997). Amidst his work and class assignments, Rand was able to acquire a portfolio that was fairly large, and his influence was largely from the German advertising style Sachplakat and also from the Gustav Jensen works. It was at this period of time when he made his mind to change his name from the Jewish, Peretz Rosenbaum, and came up with his iconic name, Paul Rand.
Still as a twenty year old, he produced work which got international recognition; to be noted was the Direction magazine which featured his designs on its covers without payment, as Rand traded it in exchange for full coverage of his artistic work. Having taught himself to be a designer, he learned a lot about the works of Moholy-Nagy and those of Cassandre too from the European magazines, and was among the pioneers of the Swiss Style of graphic design . Rand was a teacher at the Yale University based in New Haven, Connecticut from the year 1956 and taught until 1969 .In 1974, he went back to teach at that same university. By the year 1972, Paul was an early achiever. He had earned his spot in the New York Directors Club Hall of Fame.
Rand is worldly known for his popular works of posters designing and corporate logos which include those of IBM, UPS, ABC and Enron just to mention but a few. Paul Rand became famous for his works, and when he succumbed to cancer in 1996, he left a legacy behind.
According to Airey (2008), Rand might be widely known for his work in 1950’s and 1960’s on corporate logos, but what got him his reputation was his work in page design which he did earlier on. In 1936, an Apparel Arts magazine handed the job for the page layout set up for their anniversary issue to him. Because Rand had this amazing talent that enabled him to create dynamic compositions from photographs, this gave so much editorial weight to the page. This was to be a major step in his career as he was handed a full time job, and he also found himself in the position of art director as he took over in the Esquire-Coronet. His very first career got to be in the media promotion and he did this together with cover design from the year 1937 to 1941 when he decided to venture into advertising design. He remained in this industry for thirteen years, and in 1954, he began his career in corporate identification. At the period when he was taking up on these careers, he got great interest to be involved in design education. In 1942 he started teaching at the Cooper Union, and this was to be his other career, an educator. In 1946 he was a teacher at the Pratt Institute and in 1956; he became the Professor at graduate school of design, Yale University and headed the Graphic design magazines.
Paul Rand decided to move from Madison Avenue and in 1954; he handed in his resignation to the Weintraub Agency. He was praised for being one of the best directors of art by the famous Museum of Modern Art. In this same year, he was awarded a gold medal by the Art Directors Club. This was credit to his Morse code advertisement which was a great success, a job he had done for David Sarnoff of RCA. When he finally started owned his Weston Studio, he was a well known and popular as a trademark designer. Rand had worked with a number of companies like Coronet Brandy and Esquire, and had completed designs for them. By the year 1955, his third major designing career was beginning to take shape and his doors towards areas of designs began to open. He was picked by the president of International Business Machines, then Thomas j Watson, to create the companies corporate logo. This was to become the defining moment for his corporate identity in 1956 and it took him to the spotlight. He later on modified the logo in 1960 (Airey, 2008).
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Paul Rand attributed his work to several mentors. He had the opportunity to work and appreciate the unique and delightful works of William Bernbach. Rand when asked to describe how he came to know Mr. Bernbach, he compared it to the discovery of America by Christopher C. Paul Rand also adored reading books written by the leading art philosophers. The likes of Roger Fry, John Dewey and North whitehead are but a few whom he gives a lot of appreciation for their works. The lasting impression made by these theoreticians on Rand’s career went a long way in improving his credibility. During an interview in 1995 on the relevance of Art as Experience by Dewey, he used his knowledge on Dewey’s work to defend his argument (Area of Design, 1997).. The main ideology that played a great role in Rand’s career, and thus his influence that has lasted for so long, is modern philosophy. Rand appreciated the works of other artists like Paul Cézanne to those of the world famous Jan Tschichold. He was always putting their creative output and significant applications in the industry of graphic design, trying to draw connections between them. Rand portrays his appreciation for this in his book A Designer’s Work.
The unique ability of Paul Rand in making the ordinary things to the normal eye look strange is what made his designs uniquely natural. This became his signature recognition and he was a popular name among the famous house of graphic designers, with his creations being termed as lively and original by he companies he worked for, and he became recognized American Graphic Designer.
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