Paul Rand is a sort of godfather of modern graphic design. He created the IBM, ABC and UPS logos, and his unique, playful style as well as his groundbreaking theory that design should be leveraged as a business catalyst has inspired many followers, including a good portion of the staff at VSA. That’s why the company, along with longstanding VSA client IBM, jumped on the opportunity to cosponsor the exhibit “Everything is Design,” currently at the City Museum of New York.
Curt Schreiber, VSA partner and client engagement lead, who was at the opening night among other industry colleagues, later recalled how much Rand’s work influenced him when he was a design student at Iowa State. “Legends like Rand are the reason why you want to be a designer,” he said. “I will forever be enamored with his work.”
So enamored was Schreiber as 19-year-old, that he actually reached out to the man himself to ask him about the process of designing for IBM. “This was back when you could call ‘information’ and get anybody’s phone number,” recalls Schreiber. “One thing I remember very well is his explanation about why he chose stripes for the logo. He said it was a way of modernizing the company. Stripes imply data, speed, and modernity; and they are attractive and attention-grabbing. They also represent strength. It was a beautiful way to describe the organization. It still is today.”
Running through July 19, the exhibit features much of the work Rand did as a design consultant for IBM (the major corporate sponsor of the show), as well other projects he completed over six decades, including magazine ads, children’s books, book jackets and, of course, corporate identity work.
Photo caption (from left to right): Keith Yamashita Chairman at SYPartners, Donald Albrecht Exhibit Curator, Curt Schreiber Partner at VSA Partners, Terry Yoo Vice President of Brand Strategy and Experience Design at IBM, Steve Heller Author, Susan Henshaw Jones Director of the Museum of the City of New York.
Photo credit: Filip Wolak