Sunday, May 8, 2011

Rand TYPOGRAPHY Hemensley

In the 1930's when American commercial art and advertising were dominated by hard-sell copy and realistic illustration, Paul Rand introduced the formal vocabulary of the 1920's European avant-garde art movements to business communications and publishing. He was one of only a few American designers to lay claim to the modernist traditions of Cubism, de Stijl, Constructivism and the Bauhaus, and was influential in bringing what was called the New Typography -- the rejection of archaic and sentimental type and layout treatments -- to the United States.

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.

His work is characterised by wit, simplicity and a bauhaus approach to problem solving.

Typography was definitely 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. And he excelled at that, as seen in his logos for IBM, EF and Yale University Press.

RAND LOGOS Hemensley

Indisputably, Rand’s most widely known contribution to graphic design are his corporate identities, many of which are still in use. IBM, ABC, Cummins Engine, Westinghouse, and UPS, among many others, owe their graphical heritage to him. His American Broadcasting Company trademark, created in 1962, epitomizes that ideal of minimalism while proving Rand’s point that a logo “cannot survive unless it is designed with the utmost simplicity and restraint.”. His designs reflect the style of the mid to late 20th century —simplicity, neutrality, clarity—all part of the vocabulary of the Modernist period.

In the decade following the end of the Second World War multinational corporations started to spring up. The corporate identity business became the fastest growing and most lucrative graphic design speciality in the world.

Most contemporary designers are aware of Paul Rand's successful and compelling contributions to advertising design. What is not well known is the significant role he played in setting the pattern for future approaches to the advertising concept.
“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.”
- Louis Danziger, 1996

Eye Bee M Poster
1970 for IBM

ABC Logo
American Broadcasting Company, 1962