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What makes Rand so great?

It seems to be an unspoken condition that if you’re a graphic designer, then you should consider Paul Rand to be a great one. Judging by some comments on the UPS discussions both here and on Typographi.ca a lot of people consider Rand and his work to be untouchable. But why? Is it really that self-evident?

Let’s make it the topic of discussion - do you think Rand is that great? Does he deserve the iconic position bestowed upon him by every aspiring graphic designer?

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PUBLISHED ON Jun.25.2003 BY damien
armin’s comment is:

Talking bad about Rand is probably the biggest taboo in graphic design. From the beginning you are taught that he is Graphic Design, and I think that's OK, if there is somebody to aspire to it's him. But... in my opinion he is not the best Graphic Designer ever, he is one of the best communicators, but in terms of design development he is nowhere close to Saul Bass, Glaser or Kalman. Yet, he can communicate a message, a feeling, a brand promise better than anybody. I hate his logos for Enron, Westinghouse and Next (even if Steve Jobs wanted to kiss him after his presentation.)

His IBM logo is one of my favorites, but it's really not that good-looking. Rand is able to create memorable icons with more personality than the whole UPS executives put together.

He has it. What is it? Not sure, something that has to do with charisma, wit, passion, talent, cleverness, chutzpah and balls.

On Jun.25.2003 at 03:37 PM
armin’s comment is:

>Does he deserve the iconic position bestowed upon him by every aspiring graphic designer?

I forgot about this question: yes.

On Jun.25.2003 at 03:43 PM
David E.’s comment is:

In my opinion, Paul Rand was a "great" designer and deserves to be an icon. I just think that it goes way beyond how "good" a designer he was—if that makes sense.

I think there have been many, many designers who were as good at designing as Paul Rand, before and since—in the same way that there have been many songwriters as good as the Beatles and many guitar players as good as Jimi Hendrix. But like the Beatles and Hendrix, Rand was an innovator. He was extremely talented, hard working AND was in the right place at the right time. He created many of the traditions that are still in place, and will continue to be.

What he did was only able to happen at the time he did it. If he were a young designer in 2003, would he have the same impact?

On Jun.25.2003 at 04:10 PM
armin’s comment is:

>If he were a young designer in 2003, would he have the same impact?

Same debate as "Would Wilt Chamberlain have scored a 100 points agianst Shaq?"

Right, nobody knows, it's a big What if.

On Jun.25.2003 at 04:14 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

He was a strong voice for the profession.

On Jun.25.2003 at 04:26 PM
griff’s comment is:

>What makes Rand so great?

The Rand style is easily identifiable. He was able to capture and portray his client's persona as well as an element of his own. Having a recognizable or signature style is necessary to reach the status he holds.

But, this has always troubled me. When a designer becomes a prisoner of their own style, they are no longer a good designer.

To me, a good designer is a chameleon, able to change themselves on the fly and design for any environment. The designer should be transparent to the viewer.

Unfortunately, this skill will keep a good designer from ever becoming a household name. Conceptually this is similar to a studio musician, hired because they can play any type of music very well, but they have no recognizable "signature". The studio musician is recognized and appreciated by other musicians but will never become a household name. I think that supports David E's (above) separation of "good" and "great".

>Does he deserve the iconic position bestowed upon him by every aspiring graphic designer?

Yes, but he has never done much for me. I agree with armin, mad props for Saul Bass.

On Jun.25.2003 at 05:00 PM
David E.’s comment is:

hmmmm...kind of sneaky lumping Kalman in with Bass and Glaser.

On Jun.25.2003 at 05:12 PM
griff’s comment is:

I should admit, I am biased by the fact that my primary design instructor in college studied under Rand at Yale. My instructor was a cranky old bastard who made my life hell. I blamed his anger on his schooling figuring Rand probably chewed him up daily when he was a student. Probably misguided, but it was the only expanation I could come up with at the time. Oddly, I am now a cranky old bastard teaching design to future cranky bastards. Ahhhh, the circle of life.

On Jun.25.2003 at 05:22 PM
graham’s comment is:

not as good as bradbury thompson, a bit better than kall kwik. but not much.

On Jun.25.2003 at 05:23 PM
aja’s comment is:

But a chameleon has their own style of transformation, don't they?

On Jun.25.2003 at 05:27 PM
graham’s comment is:

damien-perhaps maybe add 'n american' after the 11th word in the first sentence of your topic if that's o.k. please if you wouldn't mind :)

On Jun.25.2003 at 05:30 PM
damien’s comment is:

Graham - that's a pretty good point. Before I came back to the States, I had heard very little of Rand. He is very much an American icon - and definitely not so well known (thought of?) in the UK.

On Jun.25.2003 at 05:36 PM
graham’s comment is:

damien-don't really know generally speaking but he's acknowledged etc. but i suppose what with gill and the dutch (toight) there's plenty for us to be going on with and then there's the swiss and their cuckoo clocks. i like rand's air wick (just flicking through 'a designer's art') ooooh i know there's another one-yes, the 'no way out' poster but it's a bit bass-oh yes the westinghouse atomic power and the race to outer space (p.25) is amazing but ibm? yeah right i can do an image of an eye for 'i', and a picture of a bee for 'b' and for the 'm' we'll have an . . . .m. nice touch. i'll stick with piet zwart and hendrik werman etc ta very much.

On Jun.25.2003 at 05:50 PM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

hate his logos for Enron, Westinghouse and Next (even if Steve Jobs wanted to kiss him after his presentation.)

I read somewhere that he is "the king of logos." I guess it could be said because of IBM, UPS, and such but it sounded kind of cheesy and markety. It's like they gave him less credit then he deserves.

On Jun.25.2003 at 06:09 PM
David E.’s comment is:

In Los Angeles there's a guy who owns a chain of stores that sell pagers and cell phones. He calls himself "the king of beepers" and has billboards all over town with himself in a crown surrounded by girls in bikinis and giant pagers. Maybe if Rand were still alive he could have done something similar to promote himself.

Seriously though, I dont agree with the idea that a designer can't have a signature style and be a good designer. I think that's something that's taught to students to keep them from limiting themselves, but in the real world most designers will end up specializing in one type of client at some point in their career, and will often come up with methods of working for those clients that results in a consistant look. Rand's book covers are a good example. They were completely appropriate for the subject matter. With the style he created for them, he may have been limited to a certain type of book publisher, but that doesnt mean that HE was limited as a designer.

On Jun.25.2003 at 06:41 PM
Tan’s comment is:

> yeah right i can do an image of an eye for 'i', and a picture of a bee for 'b' and for the 'm' we'll have an . . . .m. nice touch.

ah yes graham, but within the context of corporate work -- his use of icons for letters was the first of its kind.

As marks go, Rand's marks are studies in minimalism, subtleties, form, and concept.

A common complaint I hear about Rand was that he exploited a golden era of corporate innocence for his own benefit -- and that he wouldn't be able to do what he did in today's world. I believe it was Winston Churhill who said that greatness can sometimes come from being at the right place at the right time. Or something like that. Rand was a designer that corporate America needed.

Thus, he defined a golden era in corporate identity design. ABC, UPS, IBM, and Westinghouse (I can't believe you dis'ed this Armin) alone puts him into the hall of fame. But more than that, he created an entire generation of designers who went on to spread the impact of his discipline to thousands of designers since.

The man is as strong and iconic as his work. His legacy will endure for a long time.

On Jun.25.2003 at 06:50 PM
jes�s’s comment is:

I think that one of the reasons why he is such an icon is the fact that through his writing, his teaching, and his professional practice, he transformed the way the corporate world looked at branding and design. And maybe the media too. I'm sure other designers — the famous New York School? — were also there, but he was probably the most visible one. Nothing like writing a few books to become a star!

On Jun.25.2003 at 06:59 PM
Matt W. ’s comment is:

I'm probably coming from out of left field on this one, but I spent more time reading Rand than looking over his design work, and I never understood why he was considered to be such an important design "thinker." While his work is great (and obviously still important to designers in 2003), it seemed like his main impact was to water-down the idealism that the European Moderns before him had.

A strange question: if Rand never hit it big, would American design today be more challenging? A lot of twists and turns are possible in a 50 year span, but... reading Kandinsky, Bayer, and then Rand made me question positive hope for those ideas.

God knows... maybe I'm just a closet socialist. But he definitely belongs to the Idealism-Free Modernist category for me. Maybe it's better that he wasn't such a big influence in Europe.

On Jun.25.2003 at 08:36 PM
Matt W. ’s comment is:

Oops, I should say... reading Kandinsky, Bayer, et al. gave ideas and hopefulness, Rand tore it down.

By the way, I totally agree with jésus here... cause and effect. Capitalism hasn't been so bad to me, though, so I thought I shouldn't rail against it!

On Jun.25.2003 at 08:40 PM
graham’s comment is:

tan said-ah yes graham, but within the context of corporate work -- his use of icons for letters was the first of its kind.

yeah now i care. so what? doesn't make it worth doing and it's a crying shame it wasn't the last of it's kind. any use of icons for letters (apart from early writing i.e. hieroglyphics) should be left behind in playschool design day 1 lesson one; the letter 'i' could also be represented by an image of . . . anyone?

apart from the fact (in this case) he couldn't even follow through on his own idea (which was my main point about the 'm' thing). weak.

armin/david e.>If he were a young designer in

>2003, would he have the same impact?

>Same debate as "Would Wilt Chamberlain >have scored a 100 points agianst Shaq?"

>Right, nobody knows, it's a big What if.

in a big mash-up design fight-off young designers of contemporary today would wipe the floor with him. i know cos i do.

matt w- A strange question: if Rand never hit it big, would American design today be more challenging?

maybe there would actually be some instead of all that nicked stuff from everywhere else (except ed fella and saul bass) . . . youch!

On Jun.26.2003 at 01:44 AM
armin’s comment is:

>in a big mash-up design fight-off young designers of contemporary today would wipe the floor with him. i know cos i do.

uuuuffff... oh, it's on now!

On Jun.26.2003 at 09:10 AM
graham’s comment is:

errrrr . . .


>i know cos i do.

was meant more in an in know because i know type of silly way, not an i know because i think i rule stronger type of arrogant way.

although . . .

On Jun.26.2003 at 09:56 AM
armin’s comment is:

You know that if a piss up in a brewery ensued you would outpiss Rand.

Boy, is this blasphemy or what?

On Jun.26.2003 at 10:01 AM
graham’s comment is:

>You know that if a piss up in a brewery ensued you would outpiss Rand.

i'm laughing a lot-now that's design comedy. that's funny on too many levels all at once.

On Jun.26.2003 at 10:05 AM
Bradley’s comment is:

My first & only design teacher in college in my one and only design class had Rand at Yale and talked about him constantly. None of it ever stuck on me; his work was cool, I liked it, but it never really exploded in my mind or challenged my perspective on anything.

So...I guess its all pretty subjective. I think its fair to say that there's often one right or one best answer but an number of different paths you can take to get there. Rand took some very good paths.

For my money, I've never enjoyed anyone's work in the same way I've enjoyed David Carson's. Not only what he does, but what he says and how he says it. It's as if he's one of the only designers out there who just has fun with it and doesn't see the point in taking it so damn seriously. For me, personally, Rand never inspired the same kind of "fun."

Geez, please, take me seriously!!

Remember folks--type on paper. That's it. Great fun, great way to make a living, potentially powerful in various ways, but its not saving lives.

On Jun.26.2003 at 11:13 AM
tom’s comment is:

Just a thought, but is Rand considered "great", because he is usually the one you hear, read or learn about first when it comes to graphic design history?

For me he was the design hero of antiquity I first latched on to because of the popularity of the IBM, UPS, abc, etc...

But then you find out about Thompson and Beall and Lubalin and Lustig and Bayer and Sutnar and Bayer and Zwart and Tschichold - so many comparable geniuses! But if Rand was your first does that intensify the impact?

On Jun.26.2003 at 12:18 PM
ian’s comment is:

just playing devil's advocate (again?) but,

Remember folks--type on paper. That's it. Great fun, great way to make a living, potentially powerful in various ways, but its not saving lives.

is sort of disengenuous. i mean, yes - design is for the most part just one more cog in the corporate machine (commercial or non-profit) but saying that it doesn't save lives is missing a pretty powerful point.

the way that we as people interact with objects around us, whether they're tangible or intangible, affects our quality of life. especially in the late capitalist western society i would imagine most of speakup's readers live within. who's to say that someone deeply touched by their favorite book does not also appreciate it's design? just as one example.

furthermore, lets give some respect to the anonymous designers of the iconic and lifesaving objects like the stop sign, the evacuation instructions in case of fire. not to mention the advertisements on behalf of suicide hotlines, drug rehabilitation services and anti-smoking ads. not saying they have huge impact, but i bet they've saved a life or two.

i take design pretty lightly, too, because i do it a lot. without a sense of humor its pretty tedious stuff. but jut because i do it with a sense of humor doesn't mean its not serious.

On Jun.26.2003 at 03:29 PM
Damien’s comment is:

Rand was good. Perhaps very good. But greatness is a little tall for him and not something I consider him to be.

I think that because Rand was very good, and he marketed himself very well, and the timing was right - he ended up having a lot of his work profiled and preserved in history for us to see. But when I consider him to other people considered as greats in their fields - I have a hard time holding Mr Rand up to that. I think in the end - he deserves the positive attention he gets, because in some way he wanted it, but I see no evidence of concepts and thinking that will live beyond his reputation. Perhaps it is too early to tell.

I think that a combination of timing, talent and the right projects are necessary to expose any sort of 'greatness', as well as a certain type of character. It is no doubt that Rand had a good percentage of all those.

When I think about some of the other 'greats' in other fields I see elements in them that might possibly be in Rand, and so it is easy to confuse whether he truly will stand the test of time or not.

Orson Wells is considered to be a great film director. There's no denying the man had talent, even as a twenty-five year old. This is also true of Rand, he was undoubtedly incredibly talented and good at what he did.

Alan Turing was a great mathematician. Conceived the idea of computing, and made contributions that influenced the lives of many and still hold relevant today. I miss this from Rand's body of work - perhaps it is just my experience of him and those who knew him might have a different opinion. But someone like Kalman has made a bigger impact on my thinking than Rand has.

Alan Turing is virtually unknown outside the world of computer sciences (or mathematics), he wasn't widely published and he didn't really market himself the way some do to receive attention. I think there a lot of people who continuously do great work or make great contributions but don't capitalize on them such as others might. Quite often I find that the 'great' person in question is simply good and it's more of a massive marketing engine that has propelled them to the top of their industry.

On Jun.27.2003 at 01:40 PM
michael’s comment is:

In all seriousness, design is about communication. What makes the UPS and Westinghouse logos genius is that they communicate the essence of the brand - what the company does, and what their values are. They also pass the test of a good mark (still works reversed, in black and white, etc.)

For those of you who want to diss Rand, I'd like to see your identity work.

I really don't think the arts are about competition, though - "I'm better'n you!" "No, I'M better...," "I'm with Rand!" "I'm with Kalman," etc. There have been many great guitar players, but none of 'em did what Hendrix did, or what Zappa did, or Phil Keaggy, etc. and why should they? Finding your own way of communicating is the goal. Getting deified by design schools is not.

On Jul.01.2003 at 11:41 AM
armin’s comment is:

>For those of you who want to diss Rand, I'd like to see your identity work.

Not sure how it would make a difference but here you go Michael.

I'm no Rand, but he is no Vit.

On Jul.01.2003 at 11:51 AM
Tom’s comment is:

>For those of you who want to diss Rand, I'd like to see your identity work.

Not diss'n, just givin' others their due. But hey why not

On Jul.01.2003 at 04:16 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Tom -- no wonder you knew your shit about Coke in the UPS discussion. I had a hunch you were a player once you started using beverage industry acronyms and shit.

On Jul.01.2003 at 04:32 PM
armin’s comment is:

>Tom -- no wonder you knew your shit about Coke in the UPS discussion.

9 years Tan, dude knows his coke! And drinks lots of it too.

On Jul.01.2003 at 04:34 PM
Tom’s comment is:

Shhhh! They're watching. And if they find me... they'll pounce with their big red acronyms and brand speak! Make it stop!!!

Actually, 8 years. Learned tons. Except for that formula thing.

Hey have you guys seen this new drink called Pepsi? Not bad.

On Jul.01.2003 at 04:54 PM
armin’s comment is:

>Actually, 8 years

All the Coke you drank at marchFIRST would account for that extra year I put on you.

On Jul.01.2003 at 05:33 PM
jonsel’s comment is:

this new drink called Pepsi? Not bad


Of course I would say that; I went to Coca-Cola U.

On Jul.01.2003 at 05:34 PM
Design Maven’s comment is:

I came across this board by happenchance just looking for writings in reference to PAUL RAND and SAUL BASS.

To my amazement, discussions of SAUL BASS, PAUL RAND. Whom is BEST, Who I like.Who I dislike.

Comparing BASS and RAND is akin to comparing Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino;John Holmes and Rocco Siffredi; Vanessa Del Rio and Linda Lovelace;

Led Zepplin and The Rolling Stones; Dr J and Michael Jordan. etc etc.

Each feeding off the other and somehow metaphysically supporting each other.

These type of public discussions have no merit. PAUL RAND was undeniably a DESIGN GOD and GENIUS.

The name SAUL BASS and PAUL RAND are Synonymous in Design. They go HAND IN GLOVE. You can't mention one without the other.

Disussions of this type is purely subjective. Apples and Oranges.

PAUL RAND one of the First True AMERICAN Art Directors that LIBERATED GRAPHIC DESIGNERS from their menial task as LAYOUT ARTIST, Typesetters, and Book Designers in the late twenties and thirties when Illustration was KING and dominated Visual Communiation.

PAUL RAND gave Designers a voice, and made Graphic Design an Intellectual activity through his practice, writings and teaching. RAND certainly lead by example; Walked the Walk and Talked the Talk.

Granted RAND was not alone. In America, there were Charles Coiner, E McKnight Kauffer,

Joseph Binder, Lester Beall, Otis Shepard, George Guisti, Herbert Matter, Alvin Lustig, Leo Lionni.(many others)

Along with Illustrators in America. Printers and Advertising Agencies were commissioned to execute layout, design, packaging, advertising, as well the plethora of other creative responsibility of the day.

Of course printers and Ad Agecies were concerned with Aesthetics. However, printers nor ad agencies were concerned with Corporate and Brand Identity i.e. Brand Strategy, Brand Promise, Corporate Image, Corporate Mission, properly leveraging the Brand for Finacial Growth, building Brand Equity, maximizing Core Values, Corporate Culture and Style.

These attributes PAUL RAND Single Handedly brought to the table before any Individual Designer in America.

The reason PAUL RAND is so REVERED. He was the First Designer to Oppose Corporate Authority. Rand fought for Creative Rights when none where given. RAND made Corporate America RESPECT the Creative Process and Profession of Visual Communication. When the POWERS THAT BE thought of Design and the Creative Process i.e, Art Directors and Designers were merely thought of as DIM WITS. Notwithstanding, the Creative Profession in America was not much Valued and treated as such.

The position PAUL RAND took was unheard of then. And it is unheard of today.

Most Advertising Agencies and Creative Services Studios operated their Business like the Fictional

Character and Advertising Agency on BEWITCHED sixties Sitcom. MacMahon and Tate. The TV character Larry Tate was the Quintessential KISS ASS.


He was First and Foremost a DESIGNER. Whom Honed his BUSINESS ACUMEN to refleck his passion for Design.

RAND was the First to take this no nonesense approach with clients. Soon other Designers of the day followed.

Lester Beall was one of the First of RAND's Contemporaries to follow in his footsteps in reference to Educating Clients and Commanding Respect.

PAUL RAND took his cue from the BAUHAUS. Herbert Bayer, Laszlo Moholy Nagy, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee.

PAUL RAND, merged BAUHAUS IDEOLGY with his own way of thinking and injected HUMOR. Completely ORIGINAL.

BAUHAUS IDEOLOGY was the Dominate Design Philosphy of the day.

However, America felt BAUHAUS IDEOLOGY to be rigid and inflexible.

How wrong America was. The influx of European Designers to America during World War Two changed the landscape of American Design Forever.

This Discussion should be; 'Where would American Design be if Designers from Europe had not Migrated and given BIRTH TO A NEW WAY OF SEEING'.

Now, I will comment on some of the discussion of this board.

PAUL RAND never sought the lime-light. The lime-light sought PAUL RAND.

PAUL RAND's writings did not make him Famous. RAND's First Book "Thoughts on Design" was written in the 1940s.

At that time, PAUL RAND was already considered a PROGIDY.

Art Directing Apparel Arts, Magazine & Books Covers, Advertising Design, and

an UNRELENTLESS DESIRE (akin to a PRESA CANARIO or CANE CORSO) to elevate Commercial

Art (as it was called) to a Fine Art. This is what made PAUL RAND FAMOUS!!!!!!!!!!

It was not until 1985 Yale University ask PAUL RAND to conceptualize and write "A Designer's Art". Which some of the text was taken from 'Thoughts on Design'.

Design Form and Chaos and From Lascaux to Brooklyn was written in the late eigthies

early or middle nineties. Mr. Rand was already a DESIGN GOD. Sales of Rand's Books did

nothing to elevate his already GOD STATUS.

THERE EMPHATICALLY is not a Designer PRACTICING DESIGN TODAY under seventy (70) years old

THAT CAN OUTDESIGN PAUL RAND. (BAR NONE) That goes for North America, South America, Europe,

and Far East.

Anyone writing on this board that is aware of any Young Designer Practicing Design Today

that can OUT DESIGN PAUL RAND. Name him or her.

Put them in an EMPTY ROOM with RAND. Remove all content e.g. Design Magazines, and Design Annuals.

Give the Young Designer a Haberule to set type. Give him or her a Drawing Tablet to sketch ideas.

Illustration Board to transfer the ideas. Also give him or her a ruling pen, lettering pens,

bottle of india ink, Rapidiograph Pens, set of gouache and paint bruches preferably Red Sable.

RAND WILL CHEW THEM UP AND SPIT THEM OUT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HELL give any Young Designer today of your choice A COMPUTER. Put them in an EMPTY ROOM with RAND. Remove all content e.g. Design Magazines,

and Design Annuals. So they can't copy anything.

RAND will still KICK THEIR ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is EMPHATICALLY not a YOUNG DESIGNER PRACTICING Design Today with an ounce of



RAND openly admitted, they were Designers that were better than he. RAND named Armin Hoffman and

Adolphe Mouron Cassandre as Better Designers than himself.

Many Young Designers Today, Don't understand PRODUCTION, cannot get the BEST WORK out of Printers to exceed their expectations. Cannot correct Printers or Identify on Press Mistakes. Most are confined to getting their production

managers to consult with printers.

The reason for PAUL RAND's success, he was solely a SOLO ACT. PAUL RAND worked alone.

Ocassionally, with the help of a student or two executing production.Sometimes there were students abroad that worked short term production projects to gain learning experience.

Of all Designers in the HISTORY OF VISUAL COMMUNICATION. PAUL RAND worked primarily without a staff and commanded the HIGHEST SALARY of any Individual Designer in History.

RAND's Salary for his Corporate Identity work exceeded two-three hundred thousand dollars.

Work was executed within no given time frame. As RAND has stated; "if it takes me an hour, a month

a day or year. I do not work on schedule." Often times RAND projects were executed in a matter of hours, days, or couple of months.

A Salary of 200,000 - 300,000 is unheard of for some renowned Second Tier Corporate Identity Consultancies today.

RAND is the only DESIGNER IN HISTORY to show Fortune 500 clients one Design Idea and solution were accepted.

During this time Corporate Identity Consultancies such as Lippincott & Margulies, Walter Landor Associates, Siegel and Gale,

Soyster & Ohrenschall, Sandgren and Murtha, Unimark International, Anspach Grossman Portugal showed 500 - 1200 Identity Possibilities for slightly higher fee which also included Marketing Analysis.

PAUL RAND did no Marketing Analysis. He did not believe in Market Research.

Yet his Corporate Identities Stand the TEST OF TIME.

Since FutureBrand executed Brand Revitalization for UPS I've asked over fifty UPS curriers which Identity they liked the best.

All but three told me they like the old Identity the BEST.

As for UPS's new identity, it is a simple brush-up of Paul Rand's original, with a slight touch of modern flair.


Someone wrote on this board RAND's lack of influence in Europe. Let me explain to you Differences in European and American Design.

Corporate Identity and Graphic Design in America is a Conceptual Medium. First and Foremost Americans are concerned with the Message

in all forms of Visual Communication and Secondly the Design. Designers such as PAUL RAND, SAUL BASS, MORTON GOLDSHOLL, HERB LUBALIN, BILL GOLDEN, LOU DORFSMAN, MILTON GLASER, IVAN CHERMAYEFF, SEYMOUR CHWAST,(others) knew better to let the efficacy of Words and Ideas be dimenished by Design Overindulgence.

Inasfar as European Design, the more Intellectual BAUHAUS STYLE and Formalized Swiss approach to Design had no appeal to the Rank-and-File American.

BAUHAUS and Swiss Design Influence had its validity in American Corporate Identity and special interest groups as the Medical Profession. Still does until this day.

Americans unlike Europeans are a Homogeneus People made up of many Nationalities and Ethnic Backgrounds.

Because of this we posses the most Colorful Design and Language in the World. Borrowing Cultural Influences and Vernacular from all Nationalities. American Design and Language is HUMOROUSLY VOLUPTUOUS. American Design is a Creative Language that thus Defies Rigid Visual and Typographic Principles. Most important encourages the many means of Visual Communication Exploitation. We are a young country with an undeveloped sense of esthetics. Other than Corporate Identity Development, Design

and Implementation. Precise Intellectual Design is not our INTEREST.

IDEATION IS; Which is where PAUL RAND EXCELLED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On David Carson, Dare I mention his name in the same BREATHE with the aforementioned Design Pioneers.


Any Designer that has studied the History of Visual Communication is aware of this.

I am only speaking for myself. I don't want to be entertained when I read. I'm forty seven (47)

I come from a totally different school and way of thinking. A well Designed Page along with Clean white space is what I crave to rest my eyes.

Legible typography and not type skewd all over the place which causes EYE STRAIN. Magazine Designers such as Alexy Brodervitch, Dr. MF Agha, Herb Lubalin, Willi Fleckhaus, Otto Storch, Frank Zackery, Alan Hurlbert, George Lois, Henry Wolf,

Roger Black. Will chew up David Carson and SPIT HIM OUT.

As well Typographic Genius such as Old School, El Lissitzky, Jan Tschichold and Piet Zwart; to Emil Ruder, Romarie Tissi, Karl Gerstner and Hemut Krone through to Wolfgang Weingart, Wim Crouwel and Kohei Sugiura. New School, Neville Brody, April Greiman and Ahn Sang-Soo. Will teach Carson Typographic Language he didn't know EXIST.

David Carson's Star has FADED. Twenty years from

now we won't know who he is.

Certainly, Carson will not have the LONGIVITY of


For sake of argument PAUL RAND was not a MEAN PERSON, TEACHER or Designer. RAND understood Design was a very touch and often times UNCARING PROFESSION.

Most important, PAUL RAND understood his place in HISTORY. As well understood a lot of young aspiring Designers were green and week. Did not understand the Design Profession. Futhermore, aspiring Designers came to Yale to pick up on the PAUL RAND MAGIC. PAUL RAND was preparing young Designers for the BIG BAD WORLD.

Visual Communication is not an OCCUPATION for WIMPS. RAND was simply TOUGHNING DESIGNERS UP.

If it is TRUE PAUL RAND was a BITTER PERSON. Perhaps he had a right to be. Before RAND was married to his First Wife Ann. He lost his MOTHER, Sister, and Brother all within a short time. PAUL RAND was left without any immediate Family until he was married and gave birth to his first daughter.

Imaging losing everyone close to you. You are suddenly in the World all alone. That PYCHOLOGICAL Pressure would BREAK THE AVERAGE MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PAUL RAND was not infallible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In reference to Tibor Kalman, Great Design Thinker. Execution not on the same level as BASS, RAND AND GLASER.

In reference to GLASER one of the Greats in Visual Communication. Evolved from Illustration to Graphic Design. Like his former Partner Seymour Chwast, and Richard Hess. (now deceased)

Glaser does not pocess the RANGE of SAUL BASS and PAUL RAND in PURE DESIGN or Analytical Design.

BIG DIPPER vs SHAQ. One thing we know for sure. SHAQ WILL NEVER SCORE 100 POINTS in a NBA GAME.

SAUL BASS was as a MONUMENTAL FIGURE in Visual Communication and Film.


As big as you could get. No one was bigger than SAUL BASS in Visual Communication. Mr. Bass had few equals.


In Corporate Brand Identity, most notably are DON ERVIN, TOM GEISMAR, EUGENE GROSSMAN, and JOE SELAME.

SAUL BASS Dominated the Total Sphere of Visual Communication.

The aforementioned Designers are noted for their individual achievements and range in Design. Not just Graphic Design but the total Design Spectrum.

SAUL BASS mastered more Design Disciplines than any Designer in the HISTORY OF VISUAL COMMUNICATION.

No other Designer in the History of Graphic and Film Design Triumphed in as many Design disciplines as Mr. Bass.

Mr. Bass is the only Designer to create Major Corporate and Brand Identification Strategies and Systems for the Worlds Largest Corporations,

and at the same time, within the same year create opening title sequences, prologs; epilogs, and special sequences for the Worlds Largest Grossing Movies.

PARCIAL LIST of SAUL BASS RANGE; Corporate and Brand Identity, Environmental Design, 3 Dimensional Design, Architecture, Interiors, Transportation Design, Product Design, Packaging Structures,Typographic Design, Textiles, Film, Film Titles. (others)

Seven years after SAUL BASS' DEATH. Were surrounded by his IMAGERY. Anywhere you look, anywhere you turn in the World. We encounter a SAUL BASS DESIGN.

From the foods we eat, to the telephone calls we make, the clothes we wear, the charitable organizations we belong to, the social organizations our kids belong to,the movies we watch, the TV re-runs we watch, the music we listen to, the toys we had, the playgrounds we played in, the airplanes we ride, and the gas we use to fuel our cars. In every area of our Culture SAUL BASS has made a Major Contribution to 20th Century Visual Communication.

In Fact; SAUL BASS was without PEER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Jul.14.2003 at 11:39 PM
Tan’s comment is:

...well, ok...thanks.

On Jul.15.2003 at 12:07 AM
Sam’s comment is:

In Fact; SAUL BASS was without PEER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Except, perhaps, for PAUL RAND.

On Jul.15.2003 at 12:26 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Sam, what the hell are you doing??!!!

Dude, don't egg him on again. The cap lock key will break!!

On Jul.15.2003 at 12:29 AM
Sam’s comment is:

I know, but I couldn't resist. Actually, that was awesome, DesignMaven. Full of fire n brimstone.

On Jul.15.2003 at 08:43 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Holy Shit! How did I miss this? i AM so CONFUSED by all the CAPS and the dude loves WHITE SPACE TO rest his eyes? How about giving us a rest?

Passionate argument though, not sure I quite get it or agree with it but it had a lot of FLAVA.

I think I may be having a seizure...

On Jul.15.2003 at 08:49 AM
debbie millman’s comment is:

I love it. Very refreshing. Chaotic to read and comprehend, but passionate and (to me) real.

On Jul.15.2003 at 09:15 AM
Tan’s comment is:

> I think I may be having a seizure...


I think it is very passionate. It's just a little too raw to follow and understand -- but blogs are not the best way to converse sometimes. But it's clear that DesignMaven hates Carson -- that...I got.

That posting reminds me of the kind of incoherent, wasted fervor I used to get into at 1am in a loud bar after a few too many. You know, when you start passionately arguing about what the all-time best appliance is or where toast came from and stuff.

On Jul.15.2003 at 09:29 AM
jonsel’s comment is:

For my money, Shaq just never comes up enough in design writing.

On Jul.15.2003 at 10:08 AM