Don’t try to be original just try to be good.
- Paul Rand
What a great quote.
Paul Rand’s work was one of the earliest design models I tried to follow. The best of my early student work employed visual puns. Rand was a great visual punster. I had no idea why I liked this kind of work except that when I looked at it I “got it”. What I realized eventually was that when you combine two visual items together, each with their own symbolic meaning, you can create a third meaning beyond the original two. That new idea was what I got. When the design solution was clever and fun I felt like I was included in the solution. i still enjoy work that uses this technique. While Rand was a notoriously nasty teacher and not a very pleasant fellow I find his writing clear and enjoyable.
Rand was also the first “famous” designer I met when I went off to Design school. During my second week I was headed to the cafeteria and saw him talking to a class through an open classroom door. While I was standing there with my mouth open the Chair of my department came up behind me and asked if I wanted to go in and hear the rest of the presentation. Very cool.
Here’s a fun video I saw recently that inspired this post.