The first article ever written about Paul Rand's graphic design work
P-M: October - November 1938
Robert L. Leslie and Percy Seitlin [Editors]: P-M [An Intimate Journal For Art Directors, Production Managers, and their Associates]. New York: The Composing Room/P. M. Publishing Co., Volume 4, No. 9: October - November 1938. Original edition. Slim 12mo. Stitched and perfect-bound printed thick wrappers. 83  pp. Illustrated articles and advertisements. The cover is a 4-color offset design by the young up-and-comer Paul Rand. You may have heard of him. Wrappers mildly toned and spotted, with diagonal crease to rear panel. A nearly fine, exceptionally well-preserved copy.
Volume 4, Number 9
The Paul Rand issue
5.5 x 7.75 perfect-bound digest with 83  pages of articles and advertisements. This issue of P-M rates a singular high point in the history of American Graphic design due to its spotlighting of Paul Rand -- this is the FIRST article to acknowledge Rand's professional output. Rand designed the wraparound cover as well as the 16-page letterpressed insert that shows the early development of the modern american master.
This P-M cover is widely recognized as one of the iconic images of 20th-century American Graphic Design, as has been reproduced countless times in design histories/anthologies. A classic piece of original ephemera from the most influential graphic designer of all time.
The Kenilworth Press was responsible for the printing of the cover and the 16-page Rand insert, and their superlative efforts were rewarded by their full-page ad being designed by Rand himself.
Also included is a 16-page Portfolio of Reproductions from the Christmas Cards Published by the American Artists Group printed in 5-color offset and featuring many WPA-eras artists including Rockwell Kent, Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, Doris Lee, Adolph Dehn, John Steuart Curry, Emil Ganso, Dale Nichols and others.
P-M Shorts column mentions Hans J. Barschel, Rex Cleveland, Edward A. Adams, Kurt H. Volk , Peter DeNapoli, Laszlo Matulay, John Kanelous, Fritz Eichenberg, Daniel Berkeley Updike, George Switzer, August Gauthier, Evelyn Harter, Percy Seitlin.
Walker Evans' AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHS, hot off the presses from the Museum of Modern Art, is reviewed rather favorably with three photographs reproduced. It doesn't get any better than this.
An amazing original example of American Graphic Design.
P-M magazine was the leading voice of the U. S. Graphic Arts Industry from its inception in 1934 to its end in 1942 (then called AD). As a publication produced by and for professionals, it spotlighted cutting-edge production technology and the highest possible quality reproduction techniques (from engraving to plates). PM and A-D also championed the Modern movement by showcasing work from the vanguard of the European Avant-Garde well before this type of work was known to a wide audience.
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, a pioneer typographer, photographer, and designer of the modern movement and a master at the Bauhaus in Weimar, may have come closest to defining the Rand style when he said Paul was "an idealist and a realist using the language of the poet and the businessman. He thinks in terms of need and function. He is able to analyze his problems, but his fantasy is boundless."
If the word legend has any meaning in the graphic arts and if the term legendary can be applied with accuracy to the career of any designer, it can certainly be applied to Paul Rand (1914-1996). In 1951, the legend was already firmly in place. By then Paul had completed his first career as a designer of media promotion at Esquire-Coronet -- and as an outstanding cover designer for Apparel Arts and Directions. He was well along on a second career as an advertising designer at the William Weintraub agency which he had joined as art director at its founding. Paul Rand's book, Thoughts on Design, with reproductions of almost one hundred of his designs and some of the best words yet written on graphic design, had been published four years earlier -- a publishing event that cemented his international reputation and identified him as a designer of influence from Zurich to Tokyo.
The chronology of Paul Rand's design experience has paralleled the development of the modern design movement. Paul Rand's first career in media promotion and cover design ran from 1937 to 1941, his second career in advertising design ran from 1941 to 1954, and his third career in corporate identification began in 1954. Paralleling these three careers there has been a consuming interest in design education and Paul Rand's fourth career as an educator started at Cooper Union in 1942. He taught at Pratt Institute in 1946 and in 1956 he accepted a post at Yale University's graduate school of design where he held the title of Professor of Graphic Design.
In 1937 Paul launched his first career at Esquire. Although he was only occasionally involved in the editorial layout of that magazine, he designed material on its behalf and turned out a spectacular series of covers for Apparel Arts, a quarterly published in conjunction with Esquire. In spite of a schedule that paid no heed to regular working hours or minimum wage scales, he managed in these crucial years to find time to design an impressive array of covers for other magazines, particularly Directions. From 1938 on his work was a regular feature of the exhibitions of the Art Directors Club.
Most contemporary designers are aware of Paul Rand's successful and compelling contributions to advertising design. What is not well known is the significant role he played in setting the pattern for future approaches to the advertising concept. Paul was probably the first of a long and distinguished line of art directors to work with and appreciate the unique talent of William Bernbach. Paul described his first meeting with Bernbach as "akin to Columbus discovering America," and went on to say, "This was my first encounter with a copywriter who understood visual ideas and who didn?t come in with a yellow copy pad and a preconceived notion of what the layout should look like."
Paul spent fourteen years in advertising where he demonstrated the importance of the art director in advertising and helped break the isolation that once surrounded the art department. The final thought of his Thoughts on Design is worth repeating: "Even if it is true that commonplace advertising and exhibitions of bad taste are indicative of the mental capacity of the man in the street, the opposing argument is equally valid. Bromidic advertising catering to that bad taste merely perpetuates that mediocrity and denies him one of the most easily accessible means of aesthetic development."
In 1954 when Paul Rand decided that for him Madison Avenue was no longer a two-way street and he resigned from the Weintraub agency, he was cited as one of the ten best art directors by the Museum of Modern Art. This was the same year in which he received the gold medal from the Art Directors Club for his Morse Code advertisement addressed to David Sarnoff of RCA.
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