NeXT: Defamiliarizing the Ordinary in Design

Logo for NeXT, Inc. by Paul Rand, 1986

As we prepare for our next exhibition, this artfully designed logo for NeXT, Inc. comes to mind. It is the result of the collaboration of two modern day innovators whose creative ideas influenced the world: Steve Jobs and Paul Rand. 

Paul Rand (1914-1996)

In 1985, Steve Jobs founded NeXT, Inc. (computer company). One year later, he hired esteemed American designer, Paul Rand, to create a brand identity that cost $100,000. While not many people outside of the design world know Paul Rand by his name, they are familiar with his work. Best known for his logos & corporate identity systems, Rand branded numerous well-known corporations during his lifetime including UPS, IBM and ABC. Many of his timeless logos are still in use today. He was also one of the originators of the Swiss Style of graphic design. With a Modernist aesthetic and philosophy, Paul Rand believed that good design was a way of life and that the artist’s problem was to “defamiliarize the ordinary”. He taught design at Yale University from 1956-1969 and then started again in 1974. Shortly before he died in 1996, Steve Jobs declared Rand as “the greatest living graphic designer.”

Corporate Logos by Paul Rand


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