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Drawing Inspiration from Paul Rand

Drawing Inspiration from Paul Rand

Paul Rand was an American graphic designer that established himself as a leader and innovator in the design world. He developed logos for Enron, UPS, IBM, ABC and NeXT. His journey didn’t have the easiest beginning as he was not encouraged to pursue art as his career, and was forced to teach himself much of what he knew. His hard work and determination is what set him apart from other designers at the time.

Design and Function

The next skill set that truly set Rand apart from other designers was his ability to sell. Rand understood the function of a design was not just to create something beautiful, but to make it mean something, it needed to be useful. Source

“Visual communications of any kind, whether persuasive or informative, from billboards to birth announcements, should be seen as the embodiment of form and function: the integration of the beautiful and the useful.” Source

“He almost singlehandedly convinced business that design was an effective tool. [. . .] Anyone designing in the 1950s and 1960s owed much to Rand, who largely made it possible for us to work. He more than anyone else made the profession reputable. We went from being commercial artists to being graphic designers largely on his merits.” Source

One of the biggest indicators of Rand’s success is the durability of his work. Many of the logos that he designed are still in use today. It’s the attention to detail and the careful thought that has made these designs stand the test of time. Mark Favermann notes that Rand’s IBM logo “was not just an identity but a basic design philosophy that permeated corporate consciousness and public awareness.”

Simplicity of Design

While many have been quick to point out the simplicity of his designs as a negative quality, we connect with his process. Taking a complex message, feeling and function and combining it all into a clear and concise design is not an easy undertaking.

“Design is so simple, that’s why it’s so complicated.” 

In this way Hiilite truly connects with the passion and focus that was displayed by Paul Rand. We strive to provide our clients with designs that truly represent their business. A design should convey meaning and should impact the viewer in a way that makes a company or brand memorable. How many logos do you recognize instantly? Why are those brands so impactful? What about the imagery speaks to you?

We draw inspiration from designers like Rand everyday.

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Rand and Apple

Steve Jobs has been praised for his attention to design in the creation of his products. Blending the lines between functionality and aesthetic appeal, Apple has become the leader in this aspect. Steve Jobs recognized Rand’s talent and hired him to design the logo for his company, NeXT. Speaking about one of their first interactions Jobs said, “I asked him if he would come up with a few options, and he said, ‘No, I will solve your problem for you. And you will pay me.'”

After working with Rand, Steve Jobs held all his designers to the same high standards. His expectation was not that a designer would bend their ideas to fit what the client believed was right, but what the correction solution was. They needed to stand behind their solution and be prepared to defend their ideas.

More Quotes by Rand

“Don’t try to be original; just try to be good.”

“So that is the design process or the creative process. Start with a problem, forget the problem, the problem reveals itself or the solution reveals itself and then you re-evaulate it. This is what you are doing all the time.”

“All art is relationships, all art. Design is relationships. Design in a relationship between form and content… Your glasses are round. Your collar is diagonal. These are relationships. Your mouth is an oval. Your nose is a triangle – this is what design is.”

“The only mandate in logo design is that they be distinctive, memorable and clear.”



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