Type as Medium: Paul Rand on Typographic Form and Expression
The graphic designer uses the alphabet to visually communicate a message by manipulating it's form and composition, as well as the space around and within the letters. Paul Rand, a designer who loved this art so much that he signed his name on the majority of his work, dedicates a section in his book, Thoughts on Design, to typographic form and expression:
"By carefully arranging type areas, spacing, size, and "color", the typographer is able to impart to the printed page a quality which helps to dramatize the contents."
In his work, Rand uses type as a visual guide determining the rhythm of the page for the eye. Type, for Rand, communicates a message, but also personality, depth, strength, and intellect. He extends the expressiveness shown in letters to numerals and punctuation.
"The numeral as a means of expression possesses many of the same qualities as the letter. It can also be the visual equivalent of time, space, position, and quantity; and it can help to impart to a printed piece a sense of rhythm and immediacy...Punctuation marks, as emotive, plastic symbols, have served the artist as a means of expression in painting as well as in the applied arts."
Rand's work can be seen as examples of typographic expression but also of Rand using type to propose challenges to the viewer. He does this by putting the message into the form of the type and letting the audience participate in finding the message.
- Christopher W. Cureton