Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, said about Paul Rand: “He is a painter, lecturer, industrial designer, [and] advertising artist who draws his knowledge and creativeness from the resources of this country. He is an idealist and a realist, using the language of the poet and business man. He thinks in terms of need and function. He is able to analyze his problems but his fantasy is boundless.” Paul Rand is one of the most famous and recognized American designers of the 20th Century. His ideas, philosophies and approach continue to be a large part of the fundamentals of design taught in education programs across the world.
His early career was spent working for Apparel Arts and Esquire magazines and then joining the Weintraub agency. He was so successful that after a few years he demanded twice the pay for half the time, and got it. His relentless passion for corporate identity helped shape the American business landscape in the 1960s. The height of corporate identity design owed much to the unwavering pursuit of Paul Rand to make advertising more than just billboards. He worked in the field until the day that he died, at the age of 82.
BJ and Paul Rand:
Bj met and became close to Paul Rand while at Moholy-Nagy’s Institute of Design Chicago in the 1940’s. They remained that way through the decades until BJ’s death.
BJ wrote this letter to Rand about his Typographica 34 page article (which he included – see below) based on his Street Level London photograph series. In the letter he says that other than ‘M=N’ (Moholy-Nagy) Paul was the most important influence in his life. Quite a statement!
The magazine Typographica – brainchild of founder, editor, designer, and renowned typographer HERBERT SPENCER – had a brief life, a total of 32 issues published over nineteen years. But its influence stretched, and stretches, far beyond its modest distribution and print runs of the time. Indeed, for many graphic designers, Typographica is something of an obsession, to be collected if and when found, savoured, and poured over for designs and techniques not seen since. Remarkably, Spencer never intended to turn a profit, so no expenses were spared in the making of the magazine. Different papers, letterpress, tip-ins, and more were all employed in the presentation of an eclectic range of subject matter: Braille, locomotive lettering, sex and typography, typewriter faces, street lettering, matches, and avant-garde poetry all found their way into the magazine.
Supported by its publisher / printer Lund Humphries, which owned one of the finest printing houses of the day, Spencer was able to use mixed papers, gatefolds, small inserts and silvered pages protected by glassine sheets. Typographica’s pages and content looked as modern and exciting today as they did when they were first published: a time when it took more than two clicks to see the latest work from Switzerland or learn about the life and work of Piet Zwart.
For many graphic designers, Typographica was a vital part of their design education.
Typographica No. 2 New Series
BCG (Brownjohn Chermayeff & Geismar) Feature
Typographica No. 4 – New Series
Street Level – Robert Brownjohn Feature
Typographica No. 6 New Series
Watching Words Move – Robert Brownjohn (BCG) Feature
Typographica No. 10 New Series
Sex and Typography – Robert Brownjohn Feature
Typographica No.7 New Series
Typography in Britain – 36 Typographers – Special Edition
Typographica New Series all covers
Typographica Exhibition at Kemistry Gallery
Curated by Rick Poynor
Typographica Exhibition at Kemistry Curated by Rick Poynor
Typographica Exhibition at Kemistry Gallery Curated by Rick Poynor
Typographica Exhibition at Kemistry Gallery Curated by Rick Poynor London 2009