Steve Jobs discusses working with Paul Rand

I’m quite positive that this video has been around for quite some time (since it was filmed in 1993), but for those who missed it here is an interview with Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, discussing his logo designer, Paul Rand – Steve is one happy client! This was my first time seeing this interview and it was extremely inspiring to see a client speak so highly of their logo designer and appreciate the value of design so thoughtfully.

Key Points of the Interview

  • Paul Rand solved a problem – created a “jewel” that could be used independently of the company’s name.
  • Paul was a professional – He fought through the differences between a client and a designer; was clear on the relationship between the two parties.
  • Paul was a deep thinker, business problem solver AND an artist.
  • Paul’s work not only showed emotion, but exemplified “intellectual problem solving”.

Problem Solve First, Design Later

Personally, I couldn’t agree more with Paul Rand’s approach to logo design. There’s a problem to be solved, before there’s artwork to be created. Connecting with clients is the first important step to understand their needs and problems from a business objective. While the topic of “good” design is one that could be argued until the end of time, it’s fair to say that if a design does not solve a problem than it can be deemed as unsuccessful.

Discussion and Comments

+ Add to the discussion
  1. Thomas Brand says:

    Paul Rand designed the NeXT logo. It was in 1977 that Steve Jobs asked the art designer Rob Janoff to design the original rainbow colored Apple logo.

  2. Kevin says:

    This is a cool article to know more about.

  3. Whitney says:

    Personally, I talk with the client to get a better idea of what he/she may want the end product to look like. Sometimes, they have no idea. If they have no idea I take a step back and create several completely different drafts to allow them to have visuals to help them decide. Normally, though, the thumbnail draft stage takes place in my head. Takes me about an hour, I guess, to think through all the bad ideas before a decent one takes shape. I may look through photographs of hammers or houses if it is for a construction company, or if the name of the business is “Jett Painting” or something that has a word that could be an abstract object I might look through a book on jets, focusing on the forms and shapes rather than the actual photo. I ALWAYS try to create a logo that can eventually be used by itself, without the name. Creating logos is a process, it is the quest to find the perfect solution.

  4. Ya, Thomas is right. This is about the logo he did for Steve’s company NEXT. The Apple logo was done by Rob Janoff.

  5. Ben says:

    I’ve not seen this before though it was filmed so long ago, thanks for posting it. Really inspiring.

  6. Nick says:

    And this mixup teaches us something about Mr Rands skills for self promotion :-)

  7. PXLated says:

    Yep, Next, and this has been around a long time – great interview though

  8. David Perel says:

    Wow, great find and quite interesting. Paul’s portfolio is quite impressive!!!

  9. cssah says:

    what a great article ,inspire and creative thank you

  10. “A little jewel,” I like that. It’s an interesting concept for a logo. Thanks for posting.

  11. great article, thanks..

  12. lette says:

    great article, thanks! :-)

  13. Brad Connell says:

    Everything on Google says that Rob Janoff created the Apple logo. What gives?

  14. Sandee Cohen says:

    I disagree that the NeXT logo is hardly one of Rand’s greatest.

    And some of the comments he made regarding lack of options for what he provided show more about his attitude about himself rather than wanting to work with his client.

    NeXT computers never made any inroads in the field. And I find it interesting that when Apple brought back Jobs and bought NeXT, they completely buried any mention of NeXT in the OS X operating system.

    There was no attempt to tell the public that the very successful NeXT computers were the underpinings of the new Apple machines.

    NeXT as a company (and logo) were totally fogotten.

    Had the company and its “little gem of a logo” been more important, we would still see the NeXT logo today.

  15. chris says:

    NeXT logo: Paul Rand
    Apple : the only thing Rob Janoff ever did that was any good.

  16. Darrel says:

    “interview with Apple CEO, Steve Jobs”

    To be completely historically accurate, this is “an interview with Ex-Apple CEO and current NeXT CEO, Steve Jobs”

    “Had the company and its “little gem of a logo” been more important, we would still see the NeXT logo today.”

    I think Paul would have been the first to point out that that statement is a bit absurd from a business sense. NeXT logo represented NeXT computers. Jobs was no longer selling NeXT. He was now selling and representing Apple, therefore uniting under the Apple brand made the most business sense.

    Whether you are agree or not with Rand, everyone should know his philosophy on what logos are:

  17. John Lyle says:

    The great thing about both these logos (whoever did them) is their utter simplicity and ease of use, combined with a grace ad sense of purpose that few have today. If a logo only serves to say who it is rather than what every single element of the organisation does, it will always be more effective.

    Here are two very simple and effective ones

  18. As the same Steve Job would say: Amazing!!. This article is very Instructive. Those kind of talk shape our professional skills. Thanx tdc.

    Fernando Rodríguez
    Project Manager
    Connection / Made in Dominican

  19. [...] [via] I had forgotten about this interview. Thanks Steve Juras. Share and Enjoy: [...]

  20. A wonderful interview, and one that designers should really try to get out there.

  21. PRand says:

    wow, thanks for finding this vid. i saw it way back when. fun to see again. i too had the pleasure of talking to mr. rand way back when. yes, very curmudgeony.

  22. [...] Tang covers. Damn beautiful! •Milton Glaer: 10 things I have learned. •Steve Jobs on Paul Rand and his logo design.Graphik [...]

  23. Roy says:

    Nice vid, thanks for posting it.

  24. What jewel can we imagine for our creation? Simple sells.

  25. GreggG says:

    I’ve been watching for a while but now i’m making my first post.
    is there just a lot of spam here or is there some useful info shared?
    Leave me a post and introduce yourself

  26. Brian says:

    Hi Gregg,
    Thanks for commenting.. It’s always good to see some new faces on TDC :) My name is Brian Hoff and I’m the founder of The Design Cubicle. I generally aim to create a community here at TDC with plenty of opportunities for readers to submit their work and leave posts that generate discussion. Look forward to hearing more from you.

  27. [...] (CEO of Apple) discusses the great, (logo) designer, Paul Rand. Problem solve first, design later. (Via TDC).  Click here to [...]

  28. [...] can view the interview HERE. There are also another couple of articles I found both helpful and reassuring: ‘Ten logo [...]

  29. Violet says:

    Brian, Thanks for highlighting this video and the points that you drew from it. It’s interesting to consider what Jobs found of value in working with a logo designer in light of the current discussion on crowdsourcing and using sites like 99design and

  30. NTV/NAT Group, Ltd. says:

    I liked his philosophy of NOT doing “options”. An artists has a vision of what he (she) wants and works until that vision is brought to life. You don’t *compromise*. So I know he means. It’s like us w/ our NTV/NAT logo. We’ve toyed w/ others, but nothing else (but what we got) will do.

  31. Paul Rand is a American graphic designer and his corporate logo designs are great. This is very intelligent article about Paul Rand or graphic designer



  32. Clear, simple and easy to remember logos, that’s what a logo makes really successful.

  33. 3D animation says:

    I heard there was much controversy about the apple logo recently about how the apple signifies man and the bite signifies man’s brain rotting due to technology and the fact that the rainbow colours were in the wrong order… which apparently was something about it being unnatural… There was an interview with paul Rand and the reasons were so simple… The bit was to clarify that it was an apple and not a tomato etc and the colours were switched since he wanted green at the top where the leaf is.

  34. It is not easy to know about the problem before creating the artwork. Everything is then when you know if there is success or not.

  35. dresses says:

    It is not easy to know about the problem before creating the artwork. Everything is then when you know if there is success or not.

  36. Very interesting interview with Steve Jobs. He is such a important person and is incredible intelligent.

  37. i know the topic is very serious and stuff… bug god.. so 80′s you have to laugh of the “style” of the interview…

  38. I agree… very 80′s but regardless u can tell the guy is a pure genius.

  39. mario bros says:

    It is not easy to know about the problem before the creation of great art work. but everything is when you know if successful or not. or think?

Brian Hoff
About Brian Hoff: Designer, Writer and Speaker

I’m a graphic designer living in Brooklyn, New York who loves creating compelling and useful websites and memorable interactions across the web. When I’m not designing I can be found writing, speaking and occasionally part-time teaching at colleges — all on the subject of design. I started this blog to share my passion and experiences with designers and clients. I'm most active on Twitter; say hello: