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
American Broadcasting Company, 1962