Knowing What's Next

After departing from Apple in 1986, Steve Jobs set to work creating the revolutionary computer and software company, NeXT, and he needed an equally iconic trademark. Familiar with Paul Rand’s oeuvre, he approached IBM for permission to work with the designer. While proposing the NeXT logo, Rand simply handed Jobs a presentation booklet full of designs. Jobs later recalled, “The book itself was a surprise. I was convinced that each typographic example on the first few pages was the final logo. I was not quite sure what Paul was doing until I reached the end. And at that moment I knew we had a solution.... Rand gave us a jewel, which in retrospect seems so obvious.” 

Paul Rand in Apple's Think Different Campaign, 1998. Photographer: Peter Arnell

Rand’s trademark design for NeXT became one of the designer’s most recognizable works and in 1998 Jobs placed Rand in the Apple Think Different campaign alongside pioneers of other mediums, including Pablo Picasso, Bob Dylan, Martha Graham and Miles Davis.

Personal preferences, prejudices, and stereotypes often dictate what a logo looks like, but it is needs, not wants, ideas, not type styles which determine what its form should be.

Paul Rand

Developing the NeXT Logo

Rand created numerous variations of the NeXT logo before settling on the final design. He felt that including the variations not only satisfied one's curiosity but also made visible the intrinsic meaning behind each design. 

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.

Auction Results Paul Rand