Paul Rand was one of the creators of branding. When he was hired by IBM, he designed their logo and made sure that the lettering and acronyms throughout their empire were consistent — which they hadn’t been until then. Now curator Donald Albrecht has put together a show devoted to the designer, whose career spanned six decades. It’s called, “Everything is Design: The Work of Paul Rand at the Museum of the City of New York.”
The show includes 150 pieces of his work and will be in place until July 19. Rand, who was born Peretz Rosenbaum in Brooklyn, the son of the owner of a small grocery store, changed his name to avoid the anti-Semitism of the then-WASP-dominated advertising world. In addition to IBM, he created logos for UPS, Morningstar, Westinghouse and ABC and designed covers for books for Knopf and other publishing houses. He also wrote a series of children’s books with his wife, Ann.
Although he went to Pratt Institute, he always said that he learned nothing there. He was, however, strongly influenced by European design, especially that of the Bauhaus and the artist Cassandre, who set up his own agency called Alliance Graphique. He frequently designed for a magazine called “Apparel Arts,” which was a division of Esquire. He also taught graphic design, for the longest period at Yale University, and many of his students from there are still influential in the field.
Rand worked mostly alone. His own design company was based in Weston, Conn. Many of the corporate logos he designed from the Fifties on have been changed only modestly since then.