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Paul Rand papers

Call Number: AOB 126

Scope and Contents

The Paul Rand papers consist of process materials, correspondence, writings, teaching records, publicity, and realia documenting the career of graphic designer Paul Rand. Materials that were generated in Rand's creative process include paintings, sketches, galley proofs, paste-ups, mechanicals, slide film, negatives, and photographic prints. Corporate client files usually contain early iterations of logos through sketches and paste-ups, along with research materials, proposals or related correspondence, and, often, a finished logo presentation book. The papers also consist of printed materials, including corporate design guideline books, pamphlets, brochures, posters, packaging, and advertisements. Other design work includes samples of book jacket designs and cover art for journals and magazines.

Personal and professional correspondence is also represented in the collection, including letters and notes from clients, colleagues and design collaborators, and friends. Additionally, there are manuscripts, handwritten notes, proofs, and published works by Rand, as well as photographs and slides documenting his work, personal life, and travels.

Other items of note in the collection include teaching materials, such as lectures, course outlines, design exercises, and student work, from his time at Cooper Union, Pratt Institute, and Yale University. Yale University files also contain sketches and proofs for the Yale University Press logo Rand designed in 1985, and School of Art recruitment posters, both process materials and final printed versions.


  • 1929-2000
  • Majority of material found within 1940-1996


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has been assigned to the Trustee of the Paul Rand Charitable Trust by the creator of this collection for materials they have authored or otherwise produced. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Marion Swannie Rand, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2012; transferred from Manuscripts and Archives to Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, 2014.


The collection is arranged into seven series: I. Art direction and graphic design work; II. Correspondence; III. Professional papers; IV. Biographical materials; V. Collected and source material; VI. Photographic slides; VII. Publicity and clippings.

Related Materials

Paul Rand Library, Haas Family Arts Library Special Collections.


200.55 Linear Feet (150 boxes + 36 broadsides)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The Paul Rand papers consist of sketches and drawings, artwork, proofs, mechanical art, paste-ups, source material, book jackets, realia, photographs and negatives, textiles, and posters documenting the career of graphic designer Paul Rand. It also contains material documenting Rand's artistic process and professional relationships, including correspondence, teaching materials, published books, newspaper clippings, and research files.

Biographical / Historical


Paul Rand was an American graphic designer whose work included art direction, corporate identity systems and logos, book jacket and magazine cover design, and advertising design. He was born as Peretz Rosenbaum on August 15, 1914 in Brooklyn, NY, to Isidore and Lena Hecht Rosenbaum. He had an identical twin brother, Philip (Fishel), and an older sister named Ruth. From 1937 to 1946 he was married to Harriet Wallace. In 1949 Rand married Anne Binkley (1918-2012), with whom he had one child. His third wife was Marion Swannie (1924-2018), who headed the graphic design department at IBM.

Rand studied art at Pratt Institute nights while in Haaren High school, from there earning a scholarship to Parsons School of Design. Later he studied under George Grosz at the Art Student League. His design career began in the 1930s as an apprentice in the design studio of George Switzer. The 1930s were also a time a growing anti-semitism, and in 1937 he changed his surname from Rosenbaum to Rand. From 1936-1941 he worked for Esquire-Coronet, at first creating layouts for Apparel Arts Magazine before becoming Esquire Magazine's art director. He quickly established himself as a creative, devoted designer, and an early practitioner of modernizing advertising design. During this time he was also producing politically charged covers for the anti-fascist publication Direction from 1938 to 1945. By 1941, Rand assumed the position of art director for William H. Weintraub Advertising Agency, a firm opened by one of Rand's former colleagues at Esquire-Coronet. Through this agency, Rand designed distinctive advertisements and developed his design style further through clients like Coronet Brandy, Schenley Liquors, Kaiser-Frazer, Stafford Fabrics, and Disney Hats. These advertisements introduced visual identities to the brands such as the Stafford Stallion and Coronet Brandy's Snifter Man.

While he was at William Weintraub, Rand also worked as a freelance designer to produce magazine covers, packages, and textiles. He began designing book jackets in the 1940s through 1964, chiefly for Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and Bollingen series by Pantheon Books. In addition to book jackets, he illustrated four children's books between 1956 and 1970 with his second wife, Anne Binkley (as Paul and Ann Rand). Anne E. Ozbekhan, née Binkley, was an American architect trained under Mies van der Rohe, and in 1953 Paul and Anne designed and built their home in Weston, CT.

Rand began instructing graphic design at New York Laboratory School in 1939, then Cooper Union in 1942, and continued to teach at Pratt Institute in 1946. He was appointed professor at Yale University School of Art and Architecture beginning in 1956 until his retirement in 1993. He became professor emeritus in 1993, although he continued teaching Yale’s Summer Program in Brissago, Switzerland through 1996.

In 1956 Eliot Noyes, architect and chief design consultant for IBM, named Rand for the redesign of IBM's corporate design program. In the same year he updated the IBM logotype, and maintained a robust design program until stepping down in 1991. Throughout his consultant work at IBM, Rand also freelanced as a graphic design consultant for other major corporations. He implemented design programs at Westinghouse Electric Corporation starting in 1959, and Cummins Engine Company in 1961. Some of the most well-known logos and trademarks created by Rand from the 1950s through the early 1990s include UPS, ABC, NeXT Computers, Education First, Enron, and Yale University Press.

In addition to his work as a designer, Rand was also a prolific author and lecturer on the topic of design. He wrote several books and articles on design, including Thoughts on Design, A Designer's Art, Design, Form, and Chaos, and From Lascaux to Brooklyn. His honors include an honorary degree of Master of Literature from Yale University, the title of Royal Industrial Designer by the Royal Academy, London, he was awarded the first Florence Prize, and was inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame of the New York Art Director's Club. He was also awarded medals from The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the New York Art Directors Club, and Type Directors Club, among numerous others evidenced in this collection. Throughout his career he was a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale, Paris, the Art Directors Club of New York, and Industrial Designers of Society of America.

Rand died on November 26, 1996 in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Retrospective exhibitions:

  • 1941 Advance Guard of Advertising Artists, Katharine Kuh Gallery
  • 1947 Composing Room Gallery, New York
  • 1947 AD Gallery Presents: Paul Rand
  • 1948 Philadelphia Museum School
  • 1951 School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • 1955 University of Florida
  • 1955 Graphic ’55 (Tokyo)
  • 1958 Art Directors Club of Tokyo
  • 1958 American Institute of Graphic Arts, New York
  • 1964 The School of Visual Arts, New York
  • 1964 Carnegie Institute of Technology
  • 1968 Temple University
  • 1969 Louisiana Arts and Science Center
  • 1970 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (statewide tour)
  • 1970 IBM Gallery, The Graphic Art of Paul Rand
  • 1977 Wichita State University
  • 1977 Pratt Manhattan Center, New York City
  • 1978 The Graphic Art of Paul Rand, Pratt Gallery
  • 1979 Art/Play/Design, Philadelphia College of Art
  • 1982 Reinhold Brown Gallery, New York City
  • 1982 William Patterson College of New Jersey (Ben Shahn Gallery)
  • 1984 International Typeface Corporation, Typographic Treasures
  • 1986 Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art, Design Gallery
  • 1988 School of Visual Arts, Paul Rand: Master’s Series
  • 1990 The Graphic Art of Paul Rand, University of Hartford
  • 1992 Ginza Graphic Gallery
  • 1994 Paul Rand, Westport Arts Center
  • 1996 Paul Rand Retrospective, Cooper Union


Monographs by Paul Rand Rand, Paul. Thoughts on Design . New York: Wittenborn and Company, 1947. Catalog record. Rand, Paul. Paul Rand: A Designer's Art . New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985. Catalog record. Rand, Paul. Design, Form, and Chaos . New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993. Catalog record. Rand, Paul. From Lascaux to Berlin . New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996. Catalog record.

Source used Heller, Steven. Paul Rand . London: Phaidon Press, 1999. Catalog record.

Processing Information

In 2023 this collection was reprocessed to merge accessions the library received at different times. The papers were previously used and cited from a basic inventory compiled as accessions were received. The former call number was MS 1745.

Accessions were previously grouped as series and were classified under the numbers Original accession (1999-M-143), 2000-M-133, 2000-M-136, 2002-M-051, and 2013-M-031. Further processing notes at the series level indicate where to locate material from previous arrangement.

Guide to the Paul Rand Papers
compiled by Rachel Mihalko
September 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2013-11: [unspecified revision]
  • February 2023: Revised to include information about reprocessing, beginning July 2022.
  • September 2023: Reprocessing complete.

Part of the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library Special Collections Repository

Arts Library Special Collections
180 York Street
New Haven CT 06511

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