You’d be hard-pressed to find a graphic designer who doesn’t know the name Paul Rand. You’d be even harder-pressed to find anyone who lives in the western-world who doesn’t recognize the marks he’d made. When ordering Sparkle and Spin and Little 1, I wasn’t sure if this was the sole reason I wanted them—a little piece of quirkiness by a great graphic designer and the women he loved. Having received them and enjoyed them several times, I now know the reason why I now love them — they’re simply beautiful.

Both brightly illustrated, the graphic wit behind these books is a joy to take in – a lot can be learned about how to capture an idea and emotion in the simplest of ways. A mix of large type, paper-cut illustrations (that remind me of Saul Bass in many ways) and simple drawings mix together as they show us that the sum is greater than the parts.

Sparkle & Spin

Published in 1957, one year after the couple produced their first children’s book, I Know a Lot of Things, and also a year after Rand developed his first branding effort for IBM, Sparkle and Spin is a 40 page delight that is written as an introduction to words and how they can dance and sing with one another.

Little 1

Published five years later in 1962, Little 1 is the story of a cute little character (litterally the 1 from the title) who makes his way through the world trying to find a friend so he isn’t all by himself. To help give a little perspective; the illustrations for Little 1 were probably being developed at the same time the IBM bar logo, the

ABC logo,

UPS logo (which was done the previous year, so this might be stretching it) and

Cummins logo were being sketched out and developed.

As a designer and admirer of the clever, these are, admittingly selfishly, two books I purchased for my self first and any future children second. I’m sure many would see the idea of a 23 year old purchasing children’s books for himself as a little odd. I prefer to see it as an insight into the child-like curiosity and playfulness of one of the greatest creatives to have lived. These two books go to show that even the idolized designers of our times see playing and producing self-initiated projects as a worth while endeavour. So perhaps the next time stress and strain bears down upon you while you work away for an unappreciative client, boss or whomever, perhaps it is worth remembering that solace and fruition can be found in works which are far removed from that which is causing this anguish. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy doing something that causes others to smile?

A fantastic resource for all things Paul Rand, produced through love for his work by Daniel Lewandowski.

Paul Rand tribut video
A video tribute to Paul Rand, illustrating his his words and works in some fun animation.

All about Paul Rand @ Logo Design Love
David at Logo Design Love did a great job of this article on Paul Rand. Includes links to flickr groups, videos and more.

Paul Rand – Corporate Identity Designs, Innovation and Excellence
At there is an article from 2007 outlining his work on branding and some of his poster work.

One Show – Paul Rand Tribute Film
A four-minute tribute film for his induction to the One Club Hall of Fame in 2007.

Paul Rand set on Flickr
One of the Flickr groups dedicated to Paul Rand and his work.