How Design Became Integral to Business: The Paul Rand Story

4 min read

Paul Rand stands out as one of the most influential designers of the 20th century, who made significant contributions to the fusion of design and business.

Paul’s Early Connection with Design. From his teenage years, Paul was already involved in the world of design, painting signs for his father’s shop. It was during this period that he had his first encounter with design. Reading magazines, the young Paul learned about the Bauhaus movement and the prominent designers of his time, sparking his interest in the history of design, which later became a defining aspect of his career.

Paul’s Educational Journey

Paul attended a renowned design university in the United States. In the late 1930s, he began his journey to fame by creating the first advertising designs for magazine covers such as Directions, Apparel Arts, Esquire, and others. Notably, in 1952, he received his first major corporate design commission, creating an advertisement for Italian typewriter Olivetti.

Paul Rand’s Vision for Design in Business. Paul Rand was a trailblazer in understanding that design in business should serve not only aesthetic purposes but also contribute to business growth. He advocated for the idea that design should align with the ideology of business development to work as a cohesive unit, ensuring simultaneous progress. He encapsulated this ideology in his two books, “The Art of the Designer” and “Design: Chaos and Form.” Unfortunately, these books are not yet available in Armenian, but English and Russian versions are accessible.

Books by Paul Rand

Exploring One of His Projects: International Business Machines (IBM)

One of Paul Rand’s iconic projects was his work with IBM. In 1956, he created the initial version of the company’s logo, subsequently refining it multiple times to introduce innovative elements. These changes were made to ensure the design stayed relevant to the evolving business landscape.

Notable Changes in IBM’s Logo Design

In his first update, Rand replaced the Beton Bold font with City Medium, providing the company symbol with a more distinct, sturdy, and stable appearance, aligning with IBM’s ideology.

In 1972, Rand introduced the famous blue stripes to the logo, giving it a dynamic and modern look. This innovation also reduced the visual asymmetry of the wide letter M compared to other letters. Rand designed 8 and 13 variations of the blue line for various corporate products and printing applications.

Further Transformations

In 1981, Paul Rand created a rebus logo for IBM’s internal communications, representing an eye (I in English), a bee (B), and the letter M. This logo was later used in an advertising poster.

All of the changes made by Rand were in line with the brand’s ideology, showcasing the true essence of design’s role in modern brands. Paul Rand’s contributions marked a new era in the history of design.

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