Not by Words But by Things

The original version of the rebus poster design was produced for an internal IBM design conference held in Washington, DC. Less than 100 examples were printed. The presentation of the logo was met with criticism within the firm and almost ten years would elapse before Rand was able to convince IBM of the power of the design. The rebus design campaign would be re-introduced for internal and external materials and would become one of the most iconic designs of Rand's later work for IBM.

In our daily work we have all had the opportunity to employ, study, criticize, or exercise our talents or authority in the use of the IBM logo.

Paul Rand

The IBM Logo is the IBM Look


In 1956, Paul Rand would begin his landmark work for IBM, and over his three decades with the firm would fulfill his modern vision for graphic design. Rand was brought into the firm by acclaimed architect Elliot Noyes, who was hired to move the historic IBM identity in a modern direction. Thomas J. Watson, Jr., founder of IBM stated “[G]ood design must primarily serve people, and not the other way around. It must take into account human beings, whether they be our employees or our customers who use our products” and it was this foundation upon which Watson, Noyes and Rand would develop the groundbreaking design ideology for the firm. While Noyes focused on the products and architecture, Rand began to develop the enduring visual identity. From his transformation of the iconic IBM logo to the revolutionary Eye, Bee, M rebus design in the 1980s, Rand's designs for IBM left not only an indelible mark on the company, but would forever alter the approach of modern graphic design.

Posters for IBM

Stripes have appealed to people of dramatically different persuasions and cultures. Stripes evoke exciting images of Romanesque architecture, African ornament, and Parisian fashions. They are part of a geometry which decorates and animates. Stripes are indelibly linked with the IBM image, and serve a useful function as a background pattern.

Paul Rand

Paul Rand 1914–1996

Paul Rand was born Peretz Rosenbaum in Brooklyn in 1914 to Orthodox Jewish immigrants. His father owned a small grocery store, for which Rand often painted signage and advertisements. As a young man, Rand studied at Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute but never finished a degree. He found the courses unstimulating, as many of the era’s arts programs were stuck in very classical methodologies. Independently, Rand studied early 20th century European modernism, which influenced much of his early designs. He drew influence from the Bauhaus, Constructivist, Cubist and de Stijl movements, as well as the art of Paul Klee, Alexander Calder and Joan Miró.

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Auction Results Paul Rand

PAUL RAND, Untitled | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Untitled
estimate: $500–700
result: $18,750

PAUL RAND, collection of twenty-eight Christmas drawings | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

collection of twenty-eight Christmas drawings
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $16,250

PAUL RAND, Untitled | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Untitled
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $15,000

PAUL RAND, NeXT logo presentation book and proofs, set of four | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

NeXT logo presentation book and proofs, set of four
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $15,000

PAUL RAND, Untitled | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Untitled
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $13,750

PAUL RAND, Untitled | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Untitled
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $13,750

PAUL RAND, Untitled | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Untitled
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $10,000

PAUL RAND, Untitled | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Untitled
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $9,375

PAUL RAND, IBM logo guidelines and presentation books | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

IBM logo guidelines and presentation books
estimate: $1,000–1,500
result: $9,375

PAUL RAND, Untitled (Washington Crossing the Delaware) | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Untitled (Washington Crossing the Delaware)
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $9,100

PAUL RAND, Death Mask poster and drawings | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Death Mask poster and drawings
estimate: $500–700
result: $8,750

PAUL RAND, sketches and text for an unpublished children’s book | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

sketches and text for an unpublished children’s book
estimate: $500–700
result: $8,125

PAUL RAND, collection of thirty-nine Ohrbach’s advertisements | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

collection of thirty-nine Ohrbach’s advertisements
estimate: $200–300
result: $8,125

PAUL RAND, Untitled | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Untitled
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $8,125

PAUL RAND, Untitled | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Untitled
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $8,125

PAUL RAND, International Design Conference, Aspen poster and brochure | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

International Design Conference, Aspen poster and brochure
estimate: $1,500–2,000
result: $7,500

PAUL RAND, Mine Boy cover sketches and final cover | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Mine Boy cover sketches and final cover
estimate: $200–300
result: $6,875

PAUL RAND, Untitled | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Untitled
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $6,875

PAUL RAND, NeXT poster | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

NeXT poster
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $6,875

PAUL RAND, study for Shell Oil | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

study for Shell Oil
estimate: $200–300
result: $6,250

PAUL RAND, Untitled | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Untitled
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $6,250

PAUL RAND, Fortune Magazine cover study | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Fortune Magazine cover study
estimate: $200–300
result: $5,937

PAUL RAND, Untitled | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Untitled
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $5,937

PAUL RAND, Eye-Bee-M Rebus posters, set of two | Wright20.com

Paul Rand

Eye-Bee-M Rebus posters, set of two
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $5,937

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