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Thoughts on Design

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  578 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
One of the seminal texts of graphic design, Paul Rand's Thoughts on Design is now back in print for the first time since the 1970s. Writing at the height of his career, Rand articulated in his slender volume the pioneering vision that all design should seamlessly integrate form and function. This facsimile edition preserves Rand's original 1947 essay with the adjustments h ...more
Hardcover, 95 pages
Published December 31st 1970 by Studio Vista (first published January 1st 1970)
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Callie
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
It's probably sacrilege to say this, but I was disappointed in this book. It took me all of 20 minutes to read it. Given the time at which it was written, its focus is understandably on graphic design and advertising. I found a few tidbits that I thought were relevant to my work today, but wish there was more.

I have mixed feelings about Paul Rand. He brought a lot of exposure to design, but left Yale in protest after a feminist leader (Sheila Levrant de Bretteville) took over their historic gra
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Sachin Benny
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great intro in 100 pages

A lot of books stretch on for pages before winding down to a single good idea. Paul Rand does the opposite - A lot of wonderful ideas within 100 pages. Must read intro for a designer or anyone interested in design
Cameron
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Mad Men era commentary on the basic principles of design by one of America's great graphic designers, supported with great visuals. A closing caption:

"Even if it is true that the average man seems most comfortable with the commonplace and familiar, it is equally true that catering to bad taste, which we so readily attribute to the average reader, merely perpetuates that mediocrity and denies the reader one of the most easily accessible means for esthetic development and eventual enjoyment." -P
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Sasha Chewohin
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Визуальная коммуникация любого вида, аргументативная или информационная, — начиная транспарантами и заканчивая объявлениями о рождении детей, — должна рассматриваться как воплощение формы и функциональности (синтез красоты и пользы).

Религиозные и светские институты продемонстрировали силу символа как средства коммуникации. Примечательно, что распятие, помимо религиозных смыслов, имеет идеальную форму — союз агрессивной вертикали (мужское) и пассивной горизонтали (женское).

Опросы читателей свидет
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Cody Hockin
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great resource on design. Paul was 33 when he wrote this book and he displays a great understanding of design thinking. On of the things that proves your knowledge on a subject is to be able to effectively articulate principles and concepts in a way that people are able to understand. Paul does a great job of explaining basic design principles, concepts behind good design and provides his own thoughts and commentaries on what makes the design work. Very quick read and well worth it the time!
Castles
A very short manifest of Mr. Rand philosophy. I've found some of his point very interesting, and the others less appealing to my taste.

I wonder what he'd write if it was in the Photoshop era. of course, the ideas of good design are not dependent only on today's standard tools, but I couldn't avoid the thought that perhaps the technological leap actually did shadow just a tiny bit of his works.
Tim Lapetino
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In his sparse prose, design legend Paul Rand still speaks volumes about what makes great design, and models in his own work, economy, whimsy, and modernism. A fast yet thinking person's read, this re-issue of the classic both should be on every designer's shelf. Recommended.
Andres Moreira
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice and short book

It’s a nice book, with a compendium of advices on what design means and what a designer needs to think when doing it.
However, I would have preferred a bit more of examples descriptions and a bit more of content.
Utsob Roy
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's my first read of Paul Rand. I only know him by reputation. The book was overall good, concise, to the point, but sometimes a little vague. Enjoyed it.
kamal
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Wisdom of his lifetime as designer
Ying-Qiu
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
particularly like his comments on amusement
Allen Mueller
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-and-design
Every designer should find a way to get hands on an original print and read this.

A lucky designer might get a chance to own it.
Gisela Valdera
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: design
Insightful and yet, simultaneously, quite vague in regards to most subject matters in the design world. I felt like I almost grasped some important knowledge while reading this small book. Almost.
Gerson Chicareli
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jordan
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
It's full of lovely examples but doesn't really dip too deep in the philosophical details. That's probably an expectation of mine rather than a shortcoming, but for all the discussions of symbols and signs there's very little on Saussure or Pierce. Beautiful art though.
Luis
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-design
Although I enjoyed the book (especially the visual examples), it's kinda ironic I learned more about Paul Rand and his vision on design by reading Paul Rand: Conversations with Students by Michael Kröger, rather than with a book of his own.
Floduardo de Almeida
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s a must read for every designer. Fast reading. Unfortunately it’s a book with just few Paul Rand’s tips and thoughts on design. But again, it’s a must!
Angie
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Really strong assertions on what design is and what it is not. It is wonderful to be reminded of these ideas, but I think the book holds even more value if given to a non-designer. A very succinct and effective piece of writing with helpful visual examples. This is one of those pieces you should periodically re-read to remind yourself of what is important. Many of the ideas presented are still applicable to user experience design.
Leah
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
a jewel, a keepsake!

If ever there lived an iconic designer/illustrator, it was the late Paul Rand (1914-1996). In this now 4-decades old treasure of a book, Rand exegetes, illustrates, and explains symbol and word. But is word not symbol in itself and is symbol not a kind of speech? In less than 100 pages you can read about beauty and utility, humor, typography, and imagination. In contrast to fine art, design has a function, typically as a solution for a problem or concern; graphic, photographi
...more
Derek Emerson
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books-read
This short book is a small goldmine of how to think about design. If you know anyone interested in graphic design, hand them this book. There are many highlights, but I especially loved his take on a misplaced focus on typography. "The real difference likes in the way 'space' is interpreted: that is, the way in which an image is place on a sheet of paper. Such incidental questions as the use of sans-serif typefaces, lowercase letters, ragged settings, primary colors, etc. are at best variables, ...more
Philip
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design
This is a small book, less than a hundred pages, largely with graphics (naturally), and it starts off with fairly general pronouncements, but there's some good stuff once it gets going, in particular some directives I haven't seen before, like making use of repetition, and avoid choosing a font style correlated with the subject (e.g. the cliche of "chop suey" lettering). I wouldn't say this is a must-have on your designer bookshelf, but, hey, it's Paul Rand.
Gary
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design
This is a wonderful launching pad for some of the most concrete concepts in design. Who better to learn from than Paul Rand? This book is full of basic examples with high level justifications.

Like good design, this book "elevates the commonplace" and seemlessly integrates "the beautiful and the useful".
Brett Bonowicz
May 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Even if it is true that the average man seems most comfortable with the commonplace and familiar, it is equally true that catering to bad taste, which we so readily attribute to the average reader, merely perpetuates that mediocrity and denies the reader one of the most easily accessible means for esthetic development and eventual enjoyment."
Ronan Mcdonnell
Rand was a design genius. He was nervous about writing. I can see why. This book unfortunately offers little insight into his techniques or conceptual approach. It is as if it was written to start his own legend, showing his work off couched in a durable monograph. Essentially it offers a single nugget of advice to designers: make your work interesting and think before you do.
Lara Thompson
An essay compiled with many examples as a little book. A lot of theory, most of it with application. Better aimed at someone already with a background in design but still a lot to appreciate for the layman.
John
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh.

Oh!

Oooooh!


Still not only relevant but vitally necessary.

I you work in art and design, if you're interested in art and design, or, if your just a critic of art and design, have this slim, huge book always at your side!
Kathryn
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The title accurately describes the book - it contains Rand's thoughts on various elements of design with plenty of thought-provoking examples. This feels more like a reference work, something that will probably grow on me over time.
Reinhardt
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Few good insights into geometry and good layout, but too vague to be of much use. From one of the best so probably deserves closer study.

Ad focused. Communication focused. I.e. Design must have a message.
HoLoN*
Feb 05, 2013 marked it as to-read
TEDのジョン・マエダのスピーチで知った。ポール・ランドの本。当然ながら絶版。京都の古本屋で売っているけど¥27300
所有欲は全くない。読みたいだけなんだけどな...
Cam Hoff
This didn't deliver on my admittedly high expectations. The brevity of it make it worth picking up however. I will give it a second read, and try to digest it a little better.

And what's up with the minimal top margin?
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Hard to find 1 3 Aug 26, 2014 01:21PM  
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Paul Rand (born Peretz Rosenbaum) was an American graphic designer, best known for his corporate logo designs. Rand was educated at the Pratt Institute (1929–1932), and the Art Students League (1933–1934). He was one of the originators of the Swiss Style of graphic design. From 1956 to 1969, and beginning again in 1974, Rand taught design at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Rand was indu ...more
“In essence, it is not what it looks like but what it does that defines a symbol.” 7 likes
“Even if it is true that the average man seems most comfortable with the commonplace and familiar, it is equally true that catering to bad taste, which we so readily attribute to the average reader, merely perpetuates that mediocrity and denies the reader one of the most easily accessible means for esthetic development and eventual enjoyment.” 3 likes
More quotes…