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.

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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