Paul Rand: Defining Design

Museum of Design (MODA), Atlanta, GA
October 27 – January 26, 2013
Paul Rand: Defining DesignZoom

American designer Paul Rand (1914–1996) defined design as a unified activity, based on analysis and governed by imagination. Throughout his lengthy career – in which he created some of world’s most successful and recognizable logos such as those for IBM, Westinghouse, UPS, and ABC – his design work was governed by fundamental principles that he identified in his writings, such as beauty, intelligence, repetition, symbol, and humor. Today, designers across the world derive influence and inspiration from Rand’s body of work, acknowledging that he set new standards for graphic design.

This exhibit examind Rand’s work in a unique way — through the lens of his writing on the subjects of art, design and aesthetics. His 4 ground-breaking books redefined and simplified the approach to these complex subjects. Each section is grouped together based on topics such as symbols in art, typographic expression, stripes, the art of humor, repetition and others.

Gallery Information

Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)
1315 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30309

Exhibit Images


The lobby consists of the striped wall of “Randisms”: popular quotes in Rand’s famous gruff Brooklyn attitude as well as his more thoughtful and critical side. The exquisitely animated 4-minute film by Imaginary Forces (created for his induction into the One Club Hall of Fame) welcomes visitors to the exhibit.

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The hallway is composed of 2 unique elements. The left side is an introduction to Rand and a recreation of his introduction from his last book From Lascaux to Brooklyn, in which he questions what makes certain objects be worthy of the title “art” and what aesthetic principles they share. Examples include the tower of Pisa, Cézanne’s apples, the baptistery of Florence, Brueghel’s Children’s Games, a Romanesque capital, the fountains of the Alhambra, the Parthenon, Katsura Palace, african sculpture, fisherman’s buoys, an ancient pitcher, and Tipu’s wooden tiger sculpture.

The right side is an extensive timeline of not only his life and work, but also secondary timelines above in the blue and green bands that contain cross references to what was happening at the time in world events and design culture, helping put his work into context.

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Gallery A

The main gallery answered the question first posed in the hallway: What do the cave paintings of Lascaux what in common with...? Using his own work and writings about the same aesthetic principles that defined the hallway examples as “art” we see work come to life in a different way.

Special features in this gallery include original hand-cut color theory explorations of the famous Eye-Bee-M rebus and nearly all of his logo presentation booklets created for clients such as NeXT, Cummins, Ford and Morningstar.

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Gallery B

This gallery contained a large selection of magazine articles written about Mr. Rand. Visitors could also watch Conversations with Paul Rand, a 30 minute interview with him by Preston McClanahan. And to further their experience, iPads bars were set up with even more videos and access to the Paul Rand website.

Other sections included information about his house, examples of collage & montage, repetition, and a large collection of his famous Direction magazines.

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Opening Night Party

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Steven Heller: Afternoon Lecture

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Steven Heller: Evening Lecture

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