Paul Rand’s “Thoughts on Design” Back in Print

“Thoughts on Design” by Paul Rand

Chronicle Books has put legendary graphic designer Paul Rand’s legendary book “Thoughts on Design” back on bookstore shelves after a long absence. First published in 1947, the short, highly regarded volume has been out of print since the 1970s, and used copies have been very difficult to come by. This new release is priced reasonably, can be had in electronic form (let me know what this looks like if you buy it), and features a brief foreword by Michael Bierut, who writes:

Ostensibly, it is nothing more than a how-to book, illustrated with examples from the designer’s own portfolio. But in reality ‘Thoughts on Design’ is a manifesto, a call to arms and a ringing definition of what makes good design good.

Alas, no hardcover edition is available, which seems halfhearted given how the publisher’s own marketing copy describes this work as “seminal.” You could argue that there’s not a huge market for high-end design treatises, though Unit Editions would likely make the case that there’s a robust one, at least. We should probably all just be grateful that Chronicle brought this back into print in any form, but it’s worth saying that they had an opportunity to produce something really special here and they passed on it.