March 27, 2003

UPS Rebrands in Time for War

Feel a touch bad posting this in times of war, but I'm still a graphic designer sometimes... UPS has just rebranded. They've been using a Paul Rand logo forever now. Always thought Rand was overrated as a designer, although as a thinker he's far better. The UPS logo was one of his better works though. Still if looking for a designer to represent his era I'd take Saul Bass or Erik Nitsche in a flash.

Guess it comes as no surprise then that I sort of like the new logo. A bit sad to see the whole wrapped gift aspect of the logo go, it was a nice touch, but times change. Ex to the next. Wish they had got rid of the shit brown though, was that Rand's choice back in the day?

[via v-2 ]

Posted by Abe at March 27, 2003 04:03 AM


I came across this board by happenchance just looking for writings in reference to PAUL RAND and SAUL BASS.

To my amazement, discussions of SAUL BASS, PAUL RAND. Whom is BEST, Who I like. Who I dislike.

Comparing BASS and RAND is akin to comparing Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino;John Holmes and Rocco Siffredi; Vanessa Del Rio and Linda Lovelace;
Led Zepplin and The Rolling Stones; Dr J and Michael Jordan. etc etc.

Each feeding off the other and somehow metaphysically supporting each other.

These type of public discussions have no merit. PAUL RAND was undeniably a DESIGN GOD and GENIUS.

The name SAUL BASS and PAUL RAND are Synonymous in Design. They go HAND IN GLOVE. You can't mention one without the other.

Disussions of this type is purely subjective. Apples and Oranges.

PAUL RAND one of the First True AMERICAN Art Directors that LIBERATED GRAPHIC DESIGNERS from their menial task as LAYOUT ARTIST, Typesetters, and Book Designers in the late twenties and thirties when Illustration was KING and dominated Visual Communiation.

PAUL RAND gave Designers a voice, and made Graphic Design an Intellectual activity through his practice, writings and teaching. RAND certainly lead by example; Walked the Walk and Talked the Talk.

Granted RAND was not alone. In America, there were Charles Coiner, E McKnight Kauffer,
Joseph Binder, Lester Beall, Otis Shepard, George Guisti, Herbert Matter, Alvin Lustig, Leo Lionni.(many others)

Along with Illustrators in America. Printers and Advertising Agencies were commissioned to execute layout, design, packaging, advertising, as well the plethora of other creative responsibility of the day.

Of course printers and Ad Agecies were concerned with Aesthetics. However, printers nor ad agencies were concerned with Corporate and Brand Identity i.e. Brand Strategy, Brand Promise, Corporate Image, Corporate Mission, properly leveraging the Brand for Finacial Growth, building Brand Equity, maximizing Core Values, Corporate Culture and Style.

These attributes PAUL RAND Single Handedly brought to the table before any Individual Designer in America.

The reason PAUL RAND is so REVERED. He was the First Designer to Oppose Corporate Authority. Rand fought for Creative Rights when none where given. RAND made Corporate America RESPECT the Creative Process and Profession of Visual Communication. When the POWERS THAT BE thought of Design and the Creative Process i.e, Art Directors and Designers were merely thought of as DIM WITS. Notwithstanding, the Creative Profession in America was not much Valued and treated as such.

The position PAUL RAND took was unheard of then. And it is unheard of today.

Most Advertising Agencies and Creative Services Studios operated their Business like the Fictional
Character and Advertising Agency on BEWITCHED Sixties Sitcom. MacMahon and Tate. The TV character Larry Tate was the Quintessential KISS ASS.

He was First and Foremost a DESIGNER. Whom Honed his BUSINESS ACUMEN to refleck his passion for Design.

RAND was the First to take this no nonesense approach with clients. Soon other Designers of the day followed.
Lester Beall was one of the First of RAND's Contemporaries to follow in his footsteps in reference to Educating Clients and Commanding Respect.

PAUL RAND took his cue from the BAUHAUS. Herbert Bayer, Laszlo Moholy Nagy, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee.

PAUL RAND, merged BAUHAUS IDEOLGY with his own way of thinking and injected HUMOR. Completely ORIGINAL.

BAUHAUS IDEOLOGY was the Dominate Design Philosphy of the day.

However, America felt BAUHAUS IDEOLOGY to be rigid and inflexible.

How wrong America was. The influx of European Designers to America during World War Two changed the landscape of American Design Forever.

This Discussion should be; 'Where would American Design be if Designers from Europe had not Migrated and given BIRTH TO A NEW WAY OF SEEING'.

PAUL RAND never sought the lime-light. The lime-light sought PAUL RAND.
PAUL RAND's writings did not make him Famous. RAND's First Book "Thoughts on Design" was written in the 1940s.
At that time, PAUL RAND was already considered a PROGIDY.

Art Directing Apparel Arts, Magazine & Books Covers, Advertising Design, and
an UNRELENTLESS DESIRE (akin to a PRESA CANARIO or CANE CORSO) to elevate Commercial
Art (as it was called) to a Fine Art. This is what made PAUL RAND FAMOUS!!!!!!!!!!

It was not until 1985 Yale University ask PAUL RAND to conceptualize and write "A Designer's Art". Which some of the text was taken from 'Thoughts on Design'.

Design Form and Chaos and From Lascaux to Brooklyn was written in the late eigthies
early or middle nineties. Mr. Rand was already a DESIGN GOD. Sales of Rand's Books did
nothing to elevate his already GOD STATUS.

THERE EMPHATICALLY is not a Designer PRACTICING DESIGN TODAY under seventy (70) years old
THAT CAN OUTDESIGN PAUL RAND. (BAR NONE) That goes for North America, South America, Europe,
and Far East.

Anyone writing on this board that is aware of any Young Designer Practicing Design Today
that can OUT DESIGN PAUL RAND. Name him or her.

Put them in an EMPTY ROOM with RAND. Remove all content e.g. Design Magazines, and Design Annuals.
Give the Young Designer a Haberule to set type. Give him or her a Drawing Tablet to sketch ideas.
Illustration Board to transfer the ideas. Also give him or her a ruling pen, lettering pens,
bottle of india ink, Rapidiograph Pens, set of gouache and paint bruches preferably Red Sable.
RAND WILL CHEW THEM UP AND SPIT THEM OUT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HELL give any Young Designer today of your choice A COMPUTER. Put them in an EMPTY ROOM with RAND. Remove all content e.g. Design Magazines,
and Design Annuals. So they can't copy anything.

RAND will still KICK THEIR ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is EMPHATICALLY not a YOUNG DESIGNER PRACTICING Design Today with an ounce of

RAND openly admitted, they were Designers that were better than he. RAND named Armin Hoffman and
Adolphe Mouron Cassandre as Better Designers than himself.

Many Young Designers Today, Don't understand PRODUCTION, cannot get the BEST WORK out of Printers to exceed their expectations. Cannot correct Printers or Identify on Press Mistakes. Most are confined to getting their production
managers to consult with printers.

The reason for PAUL RAND's success, he was solely a SOLO ACT. PAUL RAND worked alone.
Ocassionally, with the help of a student or two executing production.Sometimes there were students abroad that worked short term production projects to gain learning experience.

Of all Designers in the HISTORY OF VISUAL COMMUNICATION. PAUL RAND worked primarily without a staff and commanded the HIGHEST SALARY of any Individual Designer in History.

RAND's Salary for his Corporate Identity work exceeded two-three hundred thousand dollars.
Work was executed within no given time frame. As RAND has stated; "if it takes me an hour, a month
a day or year. I do not work on schedule." Often times RAND projects were executed in a matter of hours, days, or couple of months.

A Salary of 200,000 - 300,000 is unheard of for some renowned Second Tier Corporate Identity Consultancies today.

RAND is the only DESIGNER IN HISTORY to show Fortune 500 clients one Design Idea and solution were accepted.

During this time Corporate Identity Consultancies such as Lippincott & Margulies, Walter Landor Associates, Siegel and Gale,
Soyster & Ohrenschall, Sandgren and Murtha, Unimark International, Anspach Grossman Portugal showed 500 - 1200 Identity Possibilities for slightly higher fee which also included Marketing Analysis.

PAUL RAND did no Marketing Analysis. He did not believe in Market Research.

Yet his Corporate Identities Stand the TEST OF TIME.

Since FutureBrand executed Brand Revitalization for UPS I've asked over fifty UPS curriers which Identity they liked the best.
All but three told me they like the old Identity the BEST.

As for UPS's new identity, it is a simple brush-up of Paul Rand's original, with a slight touch of modern flair.


Corporate Identity and Graphic Design in America is a Conceptual Medium. First and Foremost Americans are concerned with the Message
in all forms of Visual Communication and Secondly the Design. Designers such as PAUL RAND, SAUL BASS, MORTON GOLDSHOLL, HERB LUBALIN, BILL GOLDEN, LOU DORFSMAN, MILTON GLASER, IVAN CHERMAYEFF, SEYMOUR CHWAST,(others) knew better to let the efficacy of Words and Ideas be dimenished by Design Overindulgence.

Inasfar as European Design, the more Intellectual BAUHAUS STYLE and Formalized Swiss approach to Design had no appeal to the Rank-and-File American.

BAUHAUS and Swiss Design Influence had its validity in American Corporate Identity and special interest groups as the Medical Profession. Still does until this day.

Americans unlike Europeans are a Homogeneus People made up of many Nationalities and Ethnic Backgrounds.

Because of this we posses the most Colorful Design and Language in the World. Borrowing Cultural Influences and Vernacular from all Nationalities. American Design and Language is HUMOROUSLY VOLUPTUOUS. American Design is a Creative Language that thus Defies Rigid Visual and Typographic Principles. Most important encourages the many means of Visual Communication Exploitation. We are a young country with an undeveloped sense of esthetics. Other than Corporate Identity Development, Design
and Implementation. Precise Intellectual Design is not our INTEREST.
IDEATION IS; Which is where PAUL RAND EXCELLED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Most important, PAUL RAND understood his place in HISTORY.

PAUL RAND was not infallible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In reference to Erik Nitsche, GOD SEND, one of the Greatest and most underated Designers of our time. Certainly, an EQUAL TO BASS. BAYER and RAND. His work for General Dynamics is a LEGACY within itself. As well, an Encyclopedic History Book of Corporate Design.
Erik Nitsche was working in Hollywood creating Set Designs and Art Directing when SAUL BASS was a young child.
Certainly, Erik Nitsche' LEGACY in Visual Communication is akin to Peter O'Toole whom was overlook during his reign in Film by the Academy of Arts and Sciences. Never received an OSCAR.
Erik Nitsche was never acknowledged by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) The Art Directors Club or the Creme de'la Creme 'Alliance Graphique Internationale'.
Erik Nitsche should receive Lifetime Achievement Awards from AIGA and Art Directors Club. A Posthumous Acknowledgement will be a nice jester.

The Academy of Arts and Sciences at least bestowed
a Special Oscar to Peter O' Toole.


SAUL BASS was as a MONUMENTAL FIGURE in Visual Communication and Film.
As big as you could get. No one was bigger than SAUL BASS in Visual Communication. Mr. Bass had few equals.

In Corporate Brand Identity, most notably are DON ERVIN, TOM GEISMAR, EUGENE GROSSMAN, and JOE SELAME.

SAUL BASS Dominated the Total Sphere of Visual Communication.

The aforementioned Designers are noted for their individual achievements and range in Design. Not just Graphic Design but the total Design Spectrum.

SAUL BASS mastered more Design Disciplines than any Designer in the HISTORY OF VISUAL COMMUNICATION.

No other Designer in the History of Graphic and Film Design Triumphed in as many Design disciplines as Mr. Bass.

Mr. Bass is the only Designer to create Major Corporate and Brand Identification Strategies and Systems for the Worlds Largest Corporations,
and at the same time, within the same year create opening title sequences, prologs; epilogs, and special sequences for the Worlds Largest Grossing Movies.

PARCIAL LIST of SAUL BASS RANGE; Corporate and Brand Identity, Environmental Design, 3 Dimensional Design, Architecture, Interiors, Transportation Design, Product Design, Packaging Structures,Typographic Design, Textiles, Film, Film Titles. (others)
Seven years after SAUL BASS' DEATH. Were surrounded by his IMAGERY. Anywhere you look, anywhere you turn in the World. We encounter a SAUL BASS DESIGN.
From the foods we eat, to the telephone calls we make, the clothes we wear, the charitable organizations we belong to, the social organizations our kids belong to,the movies we watch, the TV re-runs we watch, the music we listen to, the toys we had, the playgrounds we played in, the airplanes we ride, and the gas we use to fuel our cars. In every area of our Culture SAUL BASS has made a Major Contribution to 20th Century Visual Communication.

In Fact; SAUL BASS was without PEER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!