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What Steve Jobs’ 1986 Business Card, Designed By Paul Rand, Looks Like
By Mikelle Leow, 12 Mar 2018
Image via David Geller / Flickr (CC 2.0)
After Steve Jobs left Apple in 1985, he founded NeXT—a computer company that spearheaded the creation of macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. It was eventually purchased by the tech giant for US$427 million (equivalent to US$654 million today) and Jobs returned to Apple.
In 1986, Jobs commissioned leading American graphic designer Paul Rand to create a visual identity for NeXT. Rand, who was paid US$100,000, came up with a 100-page book to help his client understand the design process behind the logo.
“Ideally, a logo should explain or suggest the business it symbolizes, but this is rarely possible or even necessary,” explained Rand. “There is nothing about the IBM symbol… that suggests computers, except what the viewer reads into it. Stripes are now associated with computers because the initials of a great computer company happen to be striped.”
“This is equally true of the ABC symbol which does not suggest TV. The mnemonic factors in both logos are graphic devices: stripes and circles. In this example, the ‘e’ is the mnemonic factor,” said Rand, referring to the feature of NeXT’s logo that would set it apart from other tech firms.
Rand also pitched that the lowercase ‘e’ could stand for “excellence, expertise, exceptional, [or] excitement.”
Recalling his time working with Rand, Jobs said, “I asked him if he would come up with a few options, and he said, ‘No, I will solve your problem for you and you will pay me. You don’t have to use the solution.”
“If you want options, go talk to other people.”
Redditors have uncovered the business card of the former Apple CEO from 1986, back when he was known as “Steven P. Jobs.” It flaunts Rand’s design, which eventually became the visual identity for NeXT. See the gem below.
The NeXT Computer Steve Jobs Original Business Card-1987 pic.twitter.com/hjn0JDQd7P— Milaraki Service (@MilarakiService) July 23, 2015
[via r/Apple and Logo Design Love, images via various sources]
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