The Enduring Paul Rand

I have always found this logo (1960) to be mesmerizing, and as I was two years old when it was introduced, it has been ever-present in my life. There are a number of interpretations of Rand’s abstraction but I want to give this a new spin. Someone wrote the look was that of circuit boards or engineering drawings. The “W” for Westinghouse (George, inventor of the airbrake, advocate of alternating current) was used in several previous designs. But here you can read the the “W” as alternating current (with its fluctuations) as “surmounting” direct current (shown as a simple horizontal bar), thus showing formally the “triumph” of the A/C system. [For more on this particularly nasty industrial rivalry, see “Battle of the Currents.”] Of course the brilliance of Rand’s design is that it does not read as simply one thing. This example was found in a sub-basement in midtown Manhattan and dates from the 1960s.

Discussion — One Response

  • Sakshi Gupta 03/24/2019 on 8:23 PM

    Same goes for the iconic IBM: eye, bee, M. You can keep inspecting for meaning in Rand’s work!

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