Catch It Before It’s Gone: “Paul Rand: Defining Design”

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In Atlanta? Going to be in Atlanta before the end of the month? We envy you.

Museum of Design Atlanta’s Paul Rand: Defining Design runs through Jan. 30. (Imprint readers will remember the brilliant Steven Heller’s coverage of the exhibit after he gave an on-site lecture, “Learning From Rand,” back in November.)

With the exhibition closing soon, here are a few more images of what we’re missing—along with some background info and insights from MODA executive director Laura Flusche.

(If you haven’t already read it, don’t miss Heller’s original piece here.)

All images by Bethany Legg / courtesy of MODA.


Flusche on how everything came together:“MODA was approached by the curator/designer of the exhibition, Daniel Lewandowski, who pitched the idea to us. We immediately recognized Danny’s expertise about Paul Rand and became intrigued with his idea of letting Rand speak for himself throughout the exhibition. We also loved the idea that his work was so familiar, so immediately recognizable and so appealing to all audiences and the fact that his writing about design was so accessible. We worked with Danny for about two years to pull the exhibition together, borrowing from his collection as well as from the collections of other Rand fans.”


On the highlights of the exhibition:“Who doesn’t love the story of Rand trying to woo General Sarnoff and win the RCA account for Weintraub by purchasing the back page of The New York Times and putting a message to Sarnoff in Morse code on it? Really, though, my favorite objects are Rand’s tape-ups of the IBM rebus, done as he was thinking through the project. He ripped pages out of other books and taped crudely cut pieces of paper down to create the eye, the bee and the ‘M.’ It’s great to see those and to think about his process and how his mind was working as he was conceiving that terrific rebus.”


On the biggest lesson a designer can absorb from Rand’s legacy:“‘Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.’”

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On the future:“We’ve had inquiries about traveling the Rand show, both in the U.S. and abroad, and we’re enthusiastic about making that happen. We’re also exploring some innovative ways to archive the exhibition digitally so that it’s available even to those who aren’t able to see it in person.”


Don’t miss the latest issue of Print magazine: Sex and Design, featuring Steven Heller’s study of the long-term relationship between sex and design, Michael Dooley’s uncensored look at banned comics, and much more.