iCan Blog Archive

Everything is Design: The Work of Paul Rand was an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. I had heard a bit about Paul Rand and how he had worked with IBM, so I made sure to see the exhibition before it closed on October 13.


Paul Rand was a graphic designer who did most of his work in advertising. He created many famous designs and logos and did a lot of work for IBM. He designed the iconic 8-striped IBM logo as well as the eye-bee-M poster. 


 The exhibit was not overly large, but it was filled plenty of graphic design art. Of course, my interests were somewhat biased and I spent most of my time looking at the IBM material. 


(An unintended selfie when snapping a pic of the eye-bee-M poster.) As I was walking around the exhibit, looking at the pictures and work, on one wall was a very large photograph of … IBM Rochester! 


 This was an unexpected surprise – to see a picture of IBM Rochester in a New York City museum! I found the original picture in the IBM archives, but unfortunately, it does not include the date. The photo from the exhibit is clearly from many years ago since the area in front of the building has been changed for quite some time. Whenever I learn about something new, I tend to research it more, and I found this article written about the exhibit. That article also mentions a photograph of the IBM Rochester reception area in 1958. It is in the following photograph, where I have outlined it in red – I didn’t realize this was from the Rochester site. 


 I was unable to find this photograph in the IBM archives. But if it is correct that it was from the Rochester site that makes TWO photographs from IBM Rochester in the exhibit. 

I felt a little special that day and am proud to have IBM Rochester as my professional “home”.  

A post-script: Eero Saarinen was the architect who designed IBM Rochester; he is a famous architect who designed the Gateway Arch in St Louis, among many other things. If you are like me, famous architects fly below my radar and it was only recently that I learned about his work on the IBM Rochester site. The Museum of the City of NY had an exhibit on Saarinen back in 2009. I discovered that IBM Rochester was also pictured in that exhibit. 

How cool is it that IBM was a leader of mid-century design now worthy of museum exhibits?! And even cooler, that IBM Rochester is part of those exhibits.   

A final note: most readers of this blog will know that “IBM Rochester” is in Rochester, Minnesota. If you stumbled upon this blog and aren’t familiar with “IBM Rochester,” it is the home of IBM i, about which I write most of my blog articles.

This blog post was originally published on IBMSystemsMag.com and is reproduced here by permission of IBM Systems Media.