Creative Fuel #2: Tim’s Inspirations

“Great design and art direction is timeless.” So says Tim Dart, our new Art Director. And so say the world’s legions of Paul Rand’s fans. Tim’s an admirer of the American Modernists’s work, much of which has endured for decades.

Rand’s famous book Thoughts on Design (1947) is still in print today; a modernist tome that set Rand apart as a master of layout and design. Last year marked his centennial (Rand passed away in 1996) but his logo designs for the likes of IBM (in its various modified guises), Westinghouse and ABC Television are still considered classics.


Paul Rand – Thoughts on Design

What has made Rand’s graphic design work so enduring is perhaps the fact that he ensured that his work served its purpose – he trod the fine line between the realist and the idealist. In his essay The Beautiful and the Useful, he wrote that design “is not good design if it is irrelevant.” Several decades on, this still rings true.


Paul Rand – IBM logo variation

Another of Tim’s inspirations is Saul Bass. Another American designer, again passed away in 1996, Bass was responsible for some of the movie industry’s most recognisable posters of the 1950s and 60s (and beyond) – including Alfred Hitchock’s Vertigo and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

An introduction to his comical, yet enlightening animated film Why Man Creates can be viewed here :

In light of the recent attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, however, it was this poster which struck the loudest chord whilst browsing his work.


Saul Bass – Freedom of the Press

A reminder that the struggle for freedom of expression, freedom of creativity and freedom of the press is one that has been long-fought and yet to be resolved.

The final installation in Tim’s trinity of influence… Aaron Draplin. From the modernist to the modern, Draplin’s approach to design boils down to “making cool stuff” and helping people with problems. Draplin runs the Draplin Design Co, based out of Portland and takes ‘down to earth’ to a whole new level.

For some continuity in Tim’s tastes, spot the Saul Bass book on Draplin’s desk as he shows how to design a logo in this 16 minute video:

… and learn more about this understated icon of modern design (or should the be ‘icon of understated design’?) in his TEDx Talk:

Next week we’ll hear from Jess Hibbert.


Leave a Reply