Paul Rand collection
Scope and Contents
The collection contains writings and designs by Rand, including books, articles, posters, presentation booklets, and annual reports, from clients including IBM, Cummins and UCLA. The collection is separated by donor in order to preserve the source of the works, and then organized in two series: I. Client Correspondence, Project and Document Files; and II. Bibliographic Files.
- Creation: 1939-1996
- Rand, Paul (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to researchers.
Biographical / Historical
Though he would become one of the premier graphic designers Paul Rand was born Peretz Rosenbaum on August 15, 1914 in a strict Orthodox Jewish home in Brooklyn, New York. He started painting and designing as extracurricular activity in public high school, went on to earn an art certificate at Pratt Institute, and attended classes at Parsons School of Design and Art Students’ League, but was largely self-taught in design. From reading European art and design books and magazines, he brought European modernism to his own work and eventually introduced its influence to the graphic design industry as a whole in the United States.
Paul Rand began his professional career as an illustrator of stock advertising images for Metro Associated Services in 1934, but expanded his design portfolio through freelance work and an apprenticeship for package and industrial designer George Switzer’s studio. In 1936, he earned a full-time design position for Esquire magazine, and was quickly promoted to Art Director for both Apparel Arts and Esquire magazines. At the same time, he continued to freelance, including designing covers for Direction magazine and advertisements for an assortment of clients.
In 1941, Rand left Esquire and took the position of chief art director of the just-established William H. Weintraub Agency, specializing in mass-market product advertising, where he would stay until 1955. Also during that time, he began exhibiting his work, taught design courses at The Cooper Union and Pratt Institute, designed book covers for Alfred A. Knopf, and wrote Thoughts on Design in 1946 (which he would revise as Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art in 1984) , along with multiple other published essays.
In 1956, Rand left the advertising industry and focused on two divergent paths, children’s book illustration and corporate identity design. Between 1956 and 1970, he illustrated four children’s books, written by his first wife, Ann Rand, though they divorced in 1958. At the same time, he also worked as an identity consultant for International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) from 1956 to 1991, designing the logo still used today, overseeing its application in publicity and packaging, and expanding the design to an overall corporate identity. In 1959, he was commissioned to do the same for Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and then for Cummins Engine Company in 1961. He also designed the United Parcel Service logo in 1961 and the American Broadcasting Company logo in 1962, among numerous others.
He also joined the faculty of the newly established Department of Graphic Design at Yale University in 1956, where he taught until 1969, and again from 1974 to 1993, at which point he was named Professor Emeritus. However, from 1977 to 1996, he also taught in Yale’s Summer Design Program in Brissago, Switzerland. Towards the end of his life, Paul Rand published two more books, Design, Form, and Chaos in 1994, and From Lascaux to Brooklyn in 1996.
Paul Rand’s long and illustrative career garnered him many awards, in both the professional and academic arenas. As early as 1954, he was voted one of the Ten Best Art Directors by the New York Art Directors Club, and entered into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 1972. The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) awarded him a Gold Medal in 1966, and the Type Directors’ Club awarded him a medal in 1984. He received a citation from Philadelphia College of Art (1962), and honorary degrees from Tama University in Tokyo (1958), Philadelphia College of Art (1979), Parsons School of Design (1985), Yale University (1985), University of Hartford (1987), Kutztown University (1987), School of Visual Arts, New York (1988), and Pratt Institute, New York (1996).
Paul Rand continued work on all parts of his career, corporate and academic, until his death on November 26, 1996.
extracted from Heller, Steven. Paul Rand. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1999.
3 Linear Feet (4 Document Boxes 1 Oversize Box 49 Posters)
Collection of materials from graphic designer Paul Rand. It includes extensive client publications: advertisements, posters, letterhead, brochures, and reports from clients such as International Business Machines and Westinghouse.
The artifacts are then organized alphabetically into three subseries according to type of artifact: annual reports, booklets and brochures, and posters, and then arranged alphabetically by client name and chronologically by publishing date.The second series includes books, brochures and articles written by Rand, and are arranged chronologically by publishing date.
Graphic Design Archives, Cary Collection Annex
Other Finding Aids
In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the Cary Graphic Arts Collection.
Paul Rand collection
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection of Paul Rand was donated by Marion Rand, Helen Federico, Lee D. Green, Roger Remington, and Joe Watson. Accession number(s): 2001:002
Collection processed by Anna Kuipers and Tara Markert, with additions by Kari Horowicz, 2012.
Finding aid encoded by Lisa Witt, September 2015.
- Paul Rand collection
- Cary Graphic Design Archives
- Lisa Witt
- 09 September 2015
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note