Steve Jobs interviewed about Paul Rand (1993)

Steve Jobs talks about his admiration for Paul Rand the man and the professional. Paul’s the legendary designer who created the NeXT logo and NeXT corporate identity for a hefty price.

Paul Rand Think DifferentPaul Rand’s designs have earned him a spot as one of the greatest designers of all time.

You can see Paul showing his designs to the NeXT team in this excellent video documentary about Steve Jobs at NeXT. He appears at the 45 seconds mark.

Jobs vs. Rand

Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs describes how Jobs meet his match when he searched for a designer to create the identity for NeXT.

As usual, Steve decided to go for the best – Paul Rand. But Rand was contracted to IBM at the time. After pestering IBM senior management, Jobs managed to get their permission to use Rand and flew him out to California.

NeXT logo designed by Paul RandThe NeXT computer was to be cube-shaped so Rand suggested the logo be so too. Jobs agreed and asked to see some options. Big mistake. Rand didn’t do options.

“I will solve your problem and you will pay me,” he told Jobs. “You can use what I produce or not, but I will not do options, and either way you will pay me.” And it would cost $100,000.

Two weeks later, Rand flew back and presented his solution in the form of a book walking Jobs through the rationale. Jobs loved it but asked for the yellow of the ‘e’ to be brighter. According to Isaacson, “Rand banged his fist and declared, ‘I’ve been doing this for fifty years and I know what I’m doing.’ Jobs relented.”

Not only that, but he respected Rand for standing up to him, as this interview shows . A lesson there for anyone presenting to clients? Perhaps, but Rand was 71 at the time and a globally-renowned expert in his field: not everyone could get away with it.

More about Paul Rand

Some of the logos he created

Logos designed by Paul Rand


These logos are amazing in their simplicity. I love the ABC one.