Mason Weis

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Clickbait Post Title: Paul Rand’s One Magic Rule for Great Logo Design!

Well hey there! Bet the title of this post caught your eye, huh? Well sorry to say that this article is going to be waayyy less sensationalized than the title, but I thought it’d be fun to discuss either way…

Every designer knows who Paul Rand is. If you’re a designer and you don’t know him, shame on you, seriously. For those of you who are unaware/maybe not designers, Paul Rand was an incredibly influential graphic designer and is considered by many to be one of the “forefathers” of modern graphic design as we know it. Rand is especially known by many for his corporate branding. Take a look:

Look Familiar?

Look Familiar?

Also look familiar?

Also look familiar?

Yeah, he’s responsible for some of the most well known logos in the world…

The other day, after poking around on the internet (as we all do), I came across a quote that’s been attributed to Rand in regards to logo design. I want to state that I haven’t found an incredibly concrete source linking this quote to Rand, but it’s all over the internet if you google it, so at the very least, design culture’s attributed it to him. The quote is:

“The only mandate in logo design is that they be distinctive, memorable and clear.”
— Paul Rand

Pretty bold words. What’s interesting, however, is that, although Rand claims this is the “only mandate in logo design,” it’s something many people forget when they start making logos. It’s all too common for designers to overcomplicate things. I know I’m guilty of it myself at times. The moment things go beyond this “mandate,” the logo design process can become infinitely more difficult.

To expand a little on this quote... Rand is essentially saying that a logo doesn’t exactly need to reference the company it’s for in the first place. Rand argues that a good logo will act as a sort of shell and eventually become associated with a company’s values and persona as it grows with the company itself. Rather than trying to make a logo that tries to embody everything a company is all at once, Rand suggests that designers simply try and make their logos distinctive, memorable and clear.

Looking at Rand’s work, it’s easy to see that his work follows his mantra wholeheartedly.

Nothing extraneous here, really. While it might look sort of like a crown, who's to say it's even trying to be one? It surely is memorable, though.

Nothing extraneous here, really. While it might look sort of like a crown, who's to say it's even trying to be one? It surely is memorable, though.

Distinctive? Check. Memorable? Check. Clear? You betcha.

Distinctive? Check. Memorable? Check. Clear? You betcha.

If this way of designing logos is good enough for one of the most influential designers of all time, why isn’t it good enough for you? I sure know I’ll be trying to keep this in mind when I tackle future projects. Just a thought, ya know?

 

Until next time!

Mason Weis