Paul Rand on Trademarks

Paul Rand, 35

Paul Rand Portfolio

Paul Rand Portfolio

Frank Zachary and Alexey Brodovitch on Paul Rand, and Paul Rand on trademarks, 
from Portfolio magazine #1, winter 1950. 

'Paul Rand is a boyish-looking 35-year-old Brooklyn-born designer whose ability to create good-looking advertisements has earned him an international reputation, a horde of imitators, the vice-presidency of a large Manhattan advertising agency (William H. Weintraub & Co.) and a $100,000-a-year income. As a trademark designer, Rand is relatively little known, although he has produced some of the most effective and original business trademarks in use today. This insert (below) demonstrates his virtuosity in this field. It also reveals Rand's grasp of the technique of trademark design, which is to give concrete form to an abstract idea by means of a single graphic shape or symbol, without assistance from the written word. Says Rand:
"A trademark is the signature of a company as opposed to the signature of an individual. It should as closely as possible embody in the simplest forms the essential characteristics of the product or institution being advertised. It should be easy to identify, and it should serve to glorify the merchandise in question, which is often dull and utilitarian by nature. A trademark is a miniature poster, which should sell in a nutshell".
Rand's best trademarks bear out his theory in practice, deriving their appearance and visual impact from the form and function of the product involved, as in his Coronet Brandy waiter whose head is shaped like a brandy glass, and his Helbros Watch Company monogram H which ends in the tight flourish of a coiled watchspring.'

$100,000 in 1950 equals $900,000 today, so this should be very inspiring if you're a graphic designer under 35. Alas, not so much if you're older.

Alexey Brodovitch's PORTFOLIO magazines: if you can find them and afford them, they're well worth having.

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1 comment:

David Neale said...

I am 34...

anyway, that Helbros logo makes me like spirals.