Graphic designer Paul Rand is the artist behind some of America's greatest logos

Author Steven Heller explains why Paul Rand's graphic art is both timeless and influential.
The ABC logo is viewed outside of ABC headquarters February 24, 2010 in New York. (Getty Images)

Author Steven Heller has written a lot of books on design, including a book about Paul Rand, the American graphic designer behind the logos for IBM, UPS and the ABC television network. 

Heller says, "a lot of his work was about improvisation even the logos were improvised then refined," much like the way jazz musicians use improvisation in their music.  What was striking about Rand's work was that it had artistic leanings to the modernists of Europe. 

Paul Rand

Rand "did work that impacted a lot of America" explains Heller and his work is still seen today.  The ABC network logo he designed in the 1960s is still in use. When Rand heard the network considered updating the logo he said, "there's nothing better than geometry." This principle in evident in a lot of his work as he often said "how can you improve upon geometry?"

Rand's logos have stood the test of time because of "his sensibility and his philosophy and his way of thinking and his way of expressing himself," says Heller. Rand's book A Designer's Art has been reprinted and Heller explains "that the lessons he was teaching in those books, these things are still taught, still read."

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