Ford brand presentation e book, by Paul Rand

In March of 1966, Paul Rand completed his Ford brand presentation e book. It was a proposal to Ford Motor Firm for a brand new home mark. I’ve at all times discovered it intriguing to learn the phrases Rand utilized in his brand displays. The story, the boldness, the rationale, the salesmanship. The presentation has been transcribed right here for reference.

1903 was the yr the Wright Brothers efficiently flew their airplane at Kitty Hawk. It was additionally the yr Henry Ford constructed his first motor automotive.

It was a time of startling contrasts. Dynamic technological progress vied with the frilly and mawkish habits of a post-Victorian age. It was an period characterised by potted palms, velvet mohair, and handlebar moustaches.

It was pure, then, that the creative conventions of the time ought to connect themselves to the brand new know-how. And it was inevitable that machine ornamentation, logos and signatures ought to draw inspiration from the artwork types of the day.

Graphic identification was considered extra as creative embellishment than practical necessity. Enterprise logotypes had a type of “raised pinky” magnificence impressed by quite a lot of seventeenth century Copperplate scripts, weighted and vulgarized to go well with the wants of commerce. Fanciful typefaces and decorative extravagances of each description additional typified the temper of the time. One was, nevertheless, affected extra by the ingenuous allure of those designs than by their real look. And “charming graphics” had been hardly a match for the daring mechanical creativeness of the day.

The graphics of 1900 had been, in a way, a product of the time: life was extra elaborate, extra ceremonious. There have been fancy speeches, fancy customs, fancy hats and fancy parlors — all, certainly, appropriate with fancy nameplates and escutcheons. Industrial graphics, like “Dwelling Candy Dwelling,” had been a type of sentimental sedative, a mode which, even at this time, could be eminently extra suited to a make-believe world, to the circus and amusement park, to pink lemonade and soda pop, than to the sensible world of the machine.

Makers not solely of vehicles, however of espresso machines and garden mowers, face powders, medication and corn plasters signed their wares within the nameless model. The world was flooded with “heavied up” scripts, fancy frills and comely frames. Sarcastically, what began out to be the signature of the person and his product turned out to be much less a mark of its maker than of its time.

Design and altering attitudes
Custom, conference, sentimentality, and nostalgia (sprinkled often with prejudice, worry, indifference, or easy misunderstanding) have at all times impeded the acceptance of fine design. Right now, nevertheless, due to the large strides in such fields as medication, area, information processing, structure and communications, business is turning into more and more conscious of the significance of design in relation to perform. It’s starting to know that no matter adorns or identifies the machine ought to be one with it; that design isn’t creative frivolity however enterprise necessity.

Sound design, like sound enterprise judgement, is marked by creativeness and constraint, by brevity and wit. Sound design doesn’t visually contradict, however enhances no matter it touches, and conjures up significant utility.

Sensible issues are on the root of all profitable design options. A superb home mark fits each the aim for which it was meant and its time. It’s welcome not solely to the informal spectator, however to these engaged in its implementation and fabrication as properly.

An imperfectly conceived design, then again, invitations camouflage, miniaturisation, alteration, concealment, indifference, or abandonment.

It thus fails in its preliminary functions: to establish appropriately, to lend authority, and to assist create the best visible local weather by which an organization can function.

The Ford home mark at this time
It’s obvious that the Ford mark has been subjected to lots of the abuses cited, and maybe, in some instances, for legitimate causes. The current home mark nonetheless has a great deal of advantage. If one had been to decide on however one flaw it might be that it’s incongruous in level of time with its atmosphere. It’s neither completely appropriate with the type of product it represents, nor can or not it’s simply reconciled with up to date typography and design.

The oval form by which the signature is housed isn’t distinctive; it’s merely one other oval which isn’t distinctive to anybody time or interval. It’s a widespread geometric determine, present in nature in things like almonds, eggs, and faces.

Regardless of its geometric origin, the oval (or ellipse) is a graphic gadget which is tough to make use of. It isn’t visually steady, in that it appears to wobble forwards and backwards. Additional, it might be misinterpret as a circle in perspective, making a conflicting visible aircraft between signature and body. However, it was typically helpful and typically even lovely. It performed a sensible and decorative position within the discipline of artwork and on the sector of battle, in Greek friezes and Roman armor. And it graced the woman’s boudoir within the type of scented cleaning soap, powder bins, hair brushes, jeweled instances, mirrors, and brooches. It’s generally present in outdated household albums, round and beneath household portraits. It additionally seems within the type of desk tops, chair backs, door knobs and drawer pulls, decorative plaster work, and within the type of rubber stamps, customary sort ornaments, and keyhole escutcheons.

One way or the other, its ornamental look, notably in affiliation with fancy typefaces and Copperplate script, evokes a type of interval taste. And its presence in so many guises has dampened its effectiveness and made it commonplace. For photos, like sounds, are typically ignored after they grow to be too acquainted.

Standards for a brand new Ford home mark
A brand new logotype isn’t a passing trend, however a everlasting and enduring image, for use repeatedly on numerous objects, for numerous individuals, and for numerous years. Confronted with the issue of designing the brand new home mark, the query arises, if a change is fascinating, to what diploma?

One might:

  1. modify the outdated mark with out altering its fundamental model and feeling
  2. make a brand new design with none reference in anyway to the outdated mark or
  3. make a big change in model whereas retaining significant figuring out traits of the outdated home mark.

The primary of those selections would merely be a twentieth century variation on a seventeenth century theme, a half measure which could do little however emasculate the unique by stressing meaningless stylistic eccentricities whereas presumably eliminating necessities. The second alternative could be conjecturable, because it might jeopardize sure advantages accrued by the years.

The most effective various, it appears, could be the third, for it will get on the coronary heart of the matter: trying to interpret the important qualities of the outdated mark not by slavish imitation however in a mode which might make it each a product of the current and a mirrored image of its previous. Frequent sense dictates that the principal traits which give the mark its acquainted silhouette ought to in some way be retained and, if attainable, remodeled in a brand new and important means. This transformation, hopefully, ought to be achieved with out doing violence to the visible impression created by the outdated one.

The diploma of change, nevertheless, should be rigorously weighed. If modifications are slight and superficial, then the trouble and expense concerned in such an enormous endeavor could be sheer waste. If, then again, they’re so drastic that any similarity between the outdated and new photos is now not obvious, then it’s conceivable that no matter advantages have been accumulating through the years will probably be impaired. Clearly, then, there should be an interplay between the 2: the brand new home mark should be sufficiently paying homage to its predecessor to have a well-known ring, and but totally different sufficient from it to look contemporary, well timed, and timeless.

The home mark of Ford Motor Firm ought to replicate the authority and confidence the corporate and its merchandise advantage. It ought to look practical and it ought to be practical. It shouldn’t be characterised by melodramatic swirls and theatrical prospers, however by a frank and unpretentious, virtually disarming simplicity, achieved by way of geometry and ordered relationships, with easy traces and kinds which can be measurable and manageable, and which replicate the precision of the machines they assist to establish. It ought to recommend power, pace, effectivity and utility. It ought to be clear and concise, with a type of magnificence and precision which movement not from the quill however from the compass and ruling pen. It should then emerge an integral a part of the machine design, relatively than ornamental decalcomania.

Within the design of a home mark, it’s tough to overemphasize the significance of simplicity. Easy issues are clearly simpler to recollect, typically simpler to manufacture, and at all times simpler to use. Simplicity will get to the center of an issue. It generates consciousness by its brevity, conjures up confidence by its understatement, believability by its frankness, and memorability by its uniqueness. It’s the embodiment of kind and content material.

The proposed home mark for Ford Motor Firm has been designed with these ideas in thoughts. It’s proven on the next web page in animated kind…

A significant requirement for any home mark is its measurement flexibility.

The salient options of the proposed Ford home mark are:

  1. the emphatic F
  2. the elongated oval body
  3. the higher and decrease case
  4. the slanted letters
  5. the break within the o
  6. the o, r and d ligatures

These options, mainly, are additionally distinguishing traits of the current Ford mark, however within the proposed model they’ve been translated into up to date visible phrases. This has been achieved by substituting an excellent stroked letter for the Copperplate script (the chief distinction of which is a marked distinction between thick and skinny strokes). Additional, the design adheres typically to the “phrase kind” of the unique.

The standard oval body has been changed by a singular F, which mixes preliminary, body, and suggestion of a paraph in a single component. This gadget, which can now be recognized as an “F body,” not solely appears totally different, however conveys the impression of movement and transferring lights. What was previously a standard body, designed to be disposed of at will, is now an natural and bodily inseparable a part of the signature. Additionally it is a mechanism which determines the fixing of consideration. The o and r, equally, have assumed extra particular person character, as has the r-d ligature.

It ought to be identified that the proportion of the brand new design is 1 to 2. That is tremendously helpful in shortly visualizing utility of the mark in any measurement. Additionally it is crucial to notice that the brand new mark, when occupying an area just like the outdated one, has a lot better show worth.

Collectively then, the encircling F cartouche, the distinctive o-r-d ligatures, and the horizontal line which bisects the principal form because it ties the letters collectively, create a coherent design which takes into consideration the familiarity and status worth of the outdated home mark because it underscores the freshness and vitality of the brand new.

On the next pages are examples of the brand new Ford home mark in use:

General background of Ford marks serves many helpful functions. On this proprietor’s guide, it helps to tell apart between Company and product id. It could be used as a background for such miscellaneous objects as:

common promoting
junk mail
authorized paperwork
workplace kinds
curtain materials

The proposed home mark, correctly utilized, enhances because it identifies.

Indicators that say… Protected Driving.

The Paul Rand Ford brand presentation is archived on, together with varied different brand books from the famend designer.

Associated, from the archives, how Paul Rand presented logos to clients.

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