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The Most Iconic Logo Designers and Their Work – Part 1

Every big corporation, every large bank and all the major events have something in common: a logo. You can’t do anything if you don’t have an identity so that’s why the logo designers are vital to every type of industry. Starting of today, we will publish a series of weekly articles called “The most iconic logo designers in history” which will show you the greatest designers that marked the evolution of our society.

In this part you will find out who did the logo for company made by Steve Jobs right after got fired from Apple – NeXT, who did the National Geographic or IBM logo, and much more.

Paul Rand

Paul Rand (born Peretz Rosenbaum, (August 15, 1914 — November 26, 1996) was an American graphic designer, best known for his corporate logo designs, including the logos for IBM, UPS, Enron, Westinghouse, ABC, and Steve Jobs’ NeXT. He was one of the originators of the Swiss Style of graphic design.

His career began with humble assignments, starting with a part-time position creating stock images for a syndicate that supplied graphics to various newspapers and magazines. Between his class assignments and his work, Rand was able to amass a fairly large portfolio, largely influenced by the German advertising style Sachplakat (object poster) as well as the works of Gustav Jensen. It was around this time that he decided to camouflage (and abbreviate) the overtly Jewish identity telegraphed by ‘Peretz Rosenbaum,’ shortening his forename to ‘Paul’ and taking ‘Rand’ from an uncle to form his new surname. Morris Wyszogrod, a friend and associate of Rand, noted that “he figured that ‘Paul Rand,’ four letters here, four letters there, would create a nice symbol. So he became Paul Rand.” (Behrens, Roy R. “Paul Rand.”)

The reputation Rand so rapidly amassed in his prodigious twenties never dissipated; rather, it only managed to increase through the years as the designer’s influential works and writings firmly established him as the éminence grise of his profession. Rand’s most widely known contributions to design are his corporate identities, many of which are still in use. IBM, ABC, Cummins Engine, UPS, and the now-infamous Enron, among many others, owe Rand their graphical heritage.One of his strengths, as Moholy-Nagy pointed out, was his ability as a salesman to explain the needs his identities would address for the corporation.

The most notable of his later works was his collaboration with Steve Jobs for the NeXT Computer corporate identity; Rand’s simple black box breaks the company name into two lines, producing a visual harmony that endeared the logogram to Jobs. Steve Jobs was pleased: just prior to Rand’s death in 1996, his former client labelled him, simply, “the greatest living graphic designer.”

Some of his work:

Borzoi Books – 1945

United Parcel Service (UPS) – 1961

American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) – 1962

International Business Machines (IBM) – 1967

NeXT Computers – 1986

Enron – 1996

Otl Aicher

Otl Aicher, also known as Otto Aicher (May 13, 1922 – September 1, 1991) was one of the leading German graphic designers of the 20th century. Aicher may be best known for being the lead designer for the 1972 Munich Olympics.

He created a new set of pictograms that paved the way for the ubiquitous stick figures currently used in public signs. The pictograms were created to provide a visual imterpretation of the sport they featured so that athletes and visitors to the Olympic village and stadium could find their way around.

He created pictograms using a series of grid systems and a specific bright colour palette that he chose for these Games. In 1966 Aicher was asked by the organisers of the Games to create a design for the Olympics that complemented the architecture of the newly built stadium in Munich designed by Günther Behnisch. Aicher consulted Masaru Katsumie who designed the previous 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, for advice on how to create the new designs for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. He has also designed the logo of Munich Airport which is just the letter “M” in a special font.

Some of his work:

Munich Olympics

 Munich Airport

Alan Fletcher

Alan Gerard Fletcher (27 September 1931 – 21 September 2006) was a British graphic designer. In his obituary, he was described by The Daily Telegraph as “the most highly regarded graphic designer of his generation, and probably one of the most prolific”.

He founded the design firm Fletcher/Forbes/Gill with Colin Forbes and Bob Gill in 1962. An early product was their 1963 book Graphic Design: A Visual Comparison.

Clients included Pirelli, Cunard, Penguin Books and Olivetti. Gill left the partnership in 1965 and was replaced by Theo Crosby, so the firm became Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes. Two new partners joined, and the partnership evolved into Pentagram in 1972, with Forbes, Crosby, Kenneth Grange and Mervyn Kurlansky, with clients including Lloyd’s of London and Daimler Benz. Much of his work is still in use: a logo for Reuters made up of 84 dots, which he created in 1965, was retired in 1992, but his 1989 “V&A” logo for Victoria and Albert Museum, and his “IoD” logo for the Institute of Directors remain in use. In last years he designed the logo for the Italian School of Architecture “Facolta` di Architettura di Alghero”, (University of Sassari).

He won the Prince Philip Prize for Designer of the Year, was President of the Designers and Art Directors Association in 1973 and International President of the Alliance Graphique Internationale from 1982 to 1985. He was elected to the Hall of Fame of the New York Art Directors Club in 1994, was a senior fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1989 and became an honorary fellow of the London Institute in 2000.

Some of his work:






Tom Geismar

As a student at Yale in the mid 1950s, Tom Geismar met Ivan Chermayeff. They were doing research for papers on typeface design. In the spring of 1957 they teamed up with Robert Brownjohn to form Brownjohn Chermayeff Geismar. Three years later, Brownjohn left the partnership.

Hundreds of trademarks have been created by Chermayeff & Geismar Inc. Their logos and identity programs for high-profile corporations such as Mobil, Time Warner, Viacom, and Xerox (before their recent re-brand), and for institutions such as the New York Public Library, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Museum of Modern Art, are instantly recognisable hallmarks of design.

Some of his work:

This is the first part from the series “Some of the most iconic logo designers in history”


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.