Rand, Paul: A–D, February–March 1941. An Inscribed Copy. Rand cover & insert with L. Moholy-Nagy introduction.

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February – March 1941

Paul Rand, László Moholy-Nagy,
Robert L. Leslie and Percy Seitlin [Editors]

[Rand, Paul] Leslie, Robert L. and Percy Seitlin [Editors] A-D [An Intimate Journal For Art Directors, Production Managers, and their Associates]. New York: The Composing Room/P.M. Publishing Co., Volume 7, No. 3: February/March 1941. First edition. Slim 12mo. Stitched and perfect-bound printed wrappers. 74 pp. Illustrated articles and advertisements. Wraparound cover design by Featred Artist Paul Rand. Wrappers edgeworn and creased with tender joints. Ink INSCRIPTION to first page. A very good copy.

The inscription “To Richard Erdos / Paul Rand / April 16 /41” is the earliest Rand signature we have encountered. A very nice addition to this vintage edition that featured an original wraparound cover and 16 letterpressed pages designed by Rand, including an original foreword by László Moholy-Nagy of Chicago's School of Design.

5.5 x 7.75 perfect-bound softcover book with 74 pages of articles including two-color original offset design cover and 16 letterpressed pages designed by Rand. The Rand section features an original foreward by László Moholy-Nagy of Chicago's School of Design. This was the first cross-referencing of these two modern masters.

This edition of PM is an amazing original example of Rand's early Graphic Design and its influence on American modern design. The 1941 publication date mark this as one of the earliest publications to deal with Rand's particular genius.

  • Paul Rand by László Moholy-Nagy: 16 pages designed by Paul Rand
  • Robert Josephy (Design for a Career, Designed by Josephy and Union Designer with layout by Evelyn Harter)
  • The First Century of Printmakers 1400 - 1500
  • Editorial Notes
  • Until Further Notice
  • Books and Pictures: Photograph Credits: Walker Evans, H. Iffland, Lewis H. Hine, Roy E. Stryker. Books Reviewed: Typologia by Frederic W. Goudy; Books Alive byVincent Starrett; Seventy Books About Bookmaking by Hellmut Lehmann.
  • Listing of Advertisements: Caxton Press, The Composing Room, Quincy P. Emery Inc., Pioneer - Moss Inc. , Print, Strathmore Paper Co., Wilbar Photo Engraving, The Haddon Craftsman, Reliance Reproduction Co., Flower Electrotypes.

PM magazine was the leading voice of the U. S. Graphic Arts Industry from its inception in 1934 to its end in 1942 (then called AD). As a publication produced by and for professionals, it spotlighted cutting-edge production technology and the highest possible quality reproduction techniques (from engraving to plates). PM and A-D also championed the Modern movement by showcasing work from the vanguard of the European Avant-Garde well before this type of work was known to a wide audience.

If the word legend has any meaning in the graphic arts and if the term legendary can be applied with accuracy to the career of any designer, it can certainly be applied to Paul Rand (1914-1996). By 1947, the legend was already firmly in place. By then Paul had completed his first career as a designer of media promotion at Esquire-Coronet --and as an outstanding cover designer for Apparel Arts and Directions. He was well along on a second career as an advertising designer at the William Weintraub agency which he had joined as art director at its founding.  THOUGHTS ON DESIGN (with reproductions of almost one hundred of his designs and some of the best words yet written on graphic design)  had just published --  an event that cemented his international reputation and identified him as a designer of influence from Zurich to Tokyo.

A chronology of Rand's design experience has paralleled the development of the modern design movement. Paul Rand’s first career in media promotion and cover design ran from 1937 to 1941, his second career in advertising design ran from 1941 to 1954, and his third career in corporate identification began in 1954. Paralleling these three careers there has been a consuming interest in design education and Paul Rand's fourth career as an educator started at Cooper Union in 1942. He taught at Pratt Institute in 1946 and in 1956 he accepted a post at Yale University's graduate school of design where he held the title of Professor of Graphic Design.

In 1937 Rand launched his first career at Esquire. Although he was only occasionally involved in the editorial layout of that magazine, he designed material on its behalf and turned out a spectacular series of covers for Apparel Arts, a quarterly published in conjunction with Esquire. In spite of a schedule that paid no heed to regular working hours or minimum wage scales, he managed in these crucial years to find time to design an impressive array of covers for other magazines, particularly Directions. From 1938 on his work was a regular feature of the exhibitions of the Art Directors Club.

Most contemporary designers are aware of Paul Rand's successful and compelling contributions to advertising design. What is not well known is the significant role he played in setting the pattern for future approaches to the advertising concept. Rand was probably the first of a long and distinguished line of art directors to work with and appreciate the unique talent of William Bernbach. Rand described his first meeting with Bernbach as "akin to Columbus discovering America," and went on to say, "This was my first encounter with a copywriter who understood visual ideas and who didn't come in with a yellow copy pad and a preconceived notion of what the layout should look like."

Rand spent fourteen years in advertising where he demonstrated the importance of the art director in advertising and helped break the isolation that once surrounded the art department. The final thought from  THOUGHTS ON DESIGN is worth repeating: "Even if it is true that commonplace advertising and exhibitions of bad taste are indicative of the mental capacity of the man in the street, the opposing argument is equally valid. Bromidic advertising catering to that bad taste merely perpetuates that mediocrity and denies him one of the most easily accessible means of aesthetic development."

In 1954 when Paul Rand decided Madison Avenue was no longer a two-way street and he resigned from the Weintraub agency, he was cited as one of the ten best art directors by the Museum of Modern Art. The rest is design history.

László Moholy-Nagy, a pioneer typographer, photographer, and designer of the modern movement and a master at the Bauhaus in Weimar, may have come closest to defining the Rand style when he said Paul was "an idealist and a realist using the language of the poet and the businessman. He thinks in terms of need and function. He is able to analyze his problems, but his fantasy is boundless."