Paul Rand: Father of Modern Graphic Design Essay

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When Paul Rand died at age 82, his career had spanned six decades and numerous chapters of design history. His efforts to elevate graphic design from craft to profession began as early as 1932, when he was still in his teens. By the early 1940s, he had influenced the practice of advertising, book, magazine, and package design. By the late 1940s, he had developed a design language based purely on form where once only style and technique prevailed (Heller). Rand did not set out to be a radical. Trained in the commercial art bullpens of New York City, he thoroughly understood the needs of the marketplace, while at the same time frowning on esthetic standards that impeded functionality. He modeled himself on Paul Klee, El Lissitzky, and Le …show more content…

From a large field of veterans he was singled out for editorial, advertising, and promotion design that was revolutionary for its asymmetric compositions and clever montages. "Rand is unhampered by traditions," the magazine stated. "He has no stereo-typed style because every task is something new and demands its own solution. Consequently, there is nothing labored or forced about his work." In a remarkably brief time, he had established a presence that never diminished (Heller). Rand did his photography on the copy camera at the engraver's plant and used handwriting instead of type to save money. The ad hoc execution of his ideas makes these Direction covers look as fresh today as when they were published over 50 years ago. Yet Rand downplayed their originality, saying that they were influenced by Picasso and Surrealism and were paying homage to the arts magazines Verve and Minotaur. Despite this admission, the Direction covers are a milestone in Rand's development as an innovative artist/designer (Kroeger). In 1941, William Weintraub, an Esquire-Coronet partner, left the company to start an advertising agency. At 27, Rand became art director of the Weintraub Agency. With offices in Rockefeller Center, Weintraub was the first "Jewish agency" in a field dominated by WASPs to acquire a national client list, including Dubonnet, Schenley, Lee Hats, Disney Hats, Revlon, Helbros watches, El Producto cigars, Stafford Fabrics, Emerson Radios, Kaiser Corporation, and

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