Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, pioneering art director and graphic designer Paul Rand (1914–1996) was celebrated for crafting the brand identities of such American corporate icons as ABC, IBM, UPS, and Westinghouse. Rand considered the designer’s task to be the symbolic communication of a company’s character. This recent acquisition presentation features the poster Rand created as part of IBM’s THINK promotional campaign. The design is a rebus, or visual puzzle, wherein Rand cleverly transforms the letters of IBM’s logo into pictures. The whimsical use of symbols encourages viewers to interpret—or think—in order to comprehend the company’s intended message that it values “insight,” “industriousness,” and “motivation.” The poster is part of a larger recent gift of archival Paul Rand objects donated to UMMA by Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo—professor in the U-M Stamps School of Art and Design and published scholar on Paul Rand—and Maria Phillips.
This work was recently gifted to UMMA by Maria Phillips and Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo.