The string-bound package at the top of Paul Rand’s 1961 United Parcel Service logo was a cause for concern for some at the company. It was felt that the designer’s dependence on string as a graphic device ran counter to UPS’s discouragement of its use on packages. Rand argued that his bow-tie element was the only way a rectangular shape could be made to represent a parcel, and that it was a simple, immediately recognizable graphic clue to what the company did. It was perhaps even an emotive gesture: as well as simply delivering packages to people, UPS delivered gifts.
Rand famously claimed that the decision to use this simple communicative element was sealed when he showed it to his family. ‘I have always believed that if I ...