Monday, February 28, 2011

Irene - Paul Rand Trademarks and Logo Designs

In 1937, Paul launched his first career at Esquire. Although he was only occasionally involved in the editorial layout of that magazine, he designed material on its behalf and turned out a spectacular series of covers for Apparel Arts, a quarterly published in conjunction with Esquire. In spite of a schedule that paid no heed to regular working hours or minimum wage scales, he managed in these crucial years to find time to design an impressive array of covers for other magazines, particularly Directions. From 1938 on, his work was a regular feature of the exhibitions of the Art Directors Club.

Paul Rand was a prominent advocate of employing a wide variety of techniques such as typography, painting, collage, photography, and montage – creating a combination of elements to produce a distinctive and modern visual image, whether it was a poster, a magazine cover design or a corporate identity design/logo.

1. Typography:

Paul Rand’s distinctive style was a result of his talent and extensive design education. It inspired his success at the merger of modern typography with nineteenth-century engravings. Rand strove to unite letters, finding unique graphic ways of bringing together letters of a word (name or title of a person or entity). And he excelled at that, as seen in his logos for IBM, EF and Yale University Press.

Paul Rand’s Typography

Typography was one of his strongest command areas, and with his impeccable understanding of both visual content (image/illustration) and technical content (typography/typeface), he produced designs which lasted decades. Balance, uniformity and equilibrium of spacing were the three common elements of Paul Rand’s typography related work.

2. Simplicity:

Simplicity was a common element of everything and anything Paul Rand created, whether it was a page design, a magazine cover, an ad, or a logo. And everyone loved it. He was always of the opinion that the design of a logo must be simple, in order to appeal aesthetically.

3. Rebellion:

In the 1940s, Paul Rand broke away from the conventional standards of typography and layout, and started incorporating Swiss style of design into his creations. He merged American visual culture into European avant-garde (modern art) design, integrating Cubism, Constructivism, the Bauhaus and De Stijl into his work.
Poster for the New York Subways Advertising Company
Poster for the New York Subways Advertising Company, designed by Paul Rand in 1947.
Poster for the UCLA, designed by Paul Rand in 1996
Poster for the UCLA, designed by Paul Rand in 1996, one of the last creations before his death.


The most important achievement on Paul Rand’s portfolio is in the area of Corporate Identity Design and logotypes. His talent and excellent execution was apparent in the logos he designed for many firms from a broad range of industries like IBM, Apple, UPS, ABC Television, NeXT, Enron, the Cummins Engine Company, El Producto Cigar Company, Compton Advertising and Westinghouse Electric Corporation and many more.

ABC logo by Paul Rand

ABC Designed 1962

“Should a logo be self-explanatory? It is only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation that a logo takes on any real meaning. It derives its meaning and usefulness from the quality of that which it symbolizes. If a company is second rate, the logo will eventually be perceived as second rate. It is foolhardy to believe that a logo will do its job immediately, before an audience has been properly conditioned.”

Designed 1962

IBM logo by Paul Rand

“A logo does not sell (directly), it identifies.”

Designed 1961

UPS logo by Paul Rand

“I do not use humour consciously, I just go that way naturally. A well known example is my identity for United Parcels Service: to take an escutcheon – a medieval symbol which inevitably seems pompous today – and then stick a package on top of it, that is funny.”


  1. some excellent info but needs editing. for this post typography info is not as relevant as logo and trademarks

  2. Hmm! Awesome and such a creative logo design work. I like it.
    A good number of Logo Designer is better because you have better possibility to make your choice from the huge range of ideas offered by designers.