Paul Rand once said, “Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations,” and he has undoubtedly lived up to his own words. (BrainyQuote). This simple quote has stuck with me throughout the levels of graphics courses and the growth of my own body of work as well, shaping my aesthetic and refining my expectations. Successful simplicity is extraordinarily difficult, but worth the effort in the end. Personally, in working through the graphics courses here at Northern, I finally found my niche in identity and branding, which leads to my identification with Paul Rand’s ideals and works.
In comparing and contrasting my work with Paul Rand’s, I have chosen to focus on his eight-bar version of the IBM logo from 1972 and my logo design for Fū-ZEN (pronounced as fusion), a yoga blend program. This design is actually my first work as a freelance artist for a local woman working and researching with the USOEC. She wanted a design that would be simple and sophisticated, but still convey the calm flow of yoga combining with the energy of dynamic stretches that are unique to her developing program. I feel that I have met her criterion and expectations quite well.
One of the only true physical similarities between both designs is the fact that both were created for print. Rand’s IBM logo was meant to be used in all facets of the business, from letterheads to brochures to merchandise and more. Along the same lines, I designed the Fū-ZEN logo with applications for brochures, t-shirts and posters in mind. It could also be argued that both logos undoubtedly went through many drafts and revisions to find the most successful solution. The IBM design went through at least three major redesigns from 1956 to 1972, culminating with the identity still used today. (Lewandowski). In the creation of the Fū-ZEN logo, I worked over pages and pages of different ideas and concepts, finally showing my client six variations that we could work from. Each had a similar construction, incorporating the dynamic swirl with the organic line shape, but distinctly different at the same time.
Although I am obviously not Paul Rand, I feel strongly that I relate to his ideals of simplicity. His entire body of identity work consists of simple geometric shapes and enough information for the viewer to understand the meaning of the identity. He allows the image to speak for itself without additional text and decoration, creating a very powerful and memorable design. I try to also maintain the same mindset of letting the design speak, by incorporating simple shapes. As seen in my design, I use groupings of circles to create a dynamic shape and use a single line to create the curvilinear form, relying on the circles similarities to create a consistent overall shape. (Arnheim, 1974, 79-88). Hue is also very simplified in both works, with Rand’s being a singular blue against white and mine a combination of blue and orange against a black ground.
I suppose it...