Thanks for the book Steve.

| Posted by: Allen Ashton | 21 Oct 2011 | 6 Comments

Since the passing of Steve Jobs, I have heard many great stories from people who knew him or had interacted with him. I thought I would share the one story I have about my brief but meaningful interaction with Steve Jobs.

1987. I was in the Good Earth Restaurant in Palo Alto having lunch with my old boss and good friend John Bielenberg. We were discussing Paul Rand, design and the creative process, when a man leans over and says “Excuse me, are you talking about Paul Rand?” I said that we were, for we really appreciated his process and contribution to design. “I’m Steve Jobs and I would like to send you something.” I knew at the time that Steve Jobs was starting NeXT, Inc. and suspected that he wanted to send me something tied with that since I knew that Paul Rand was engaged to develop the NeXT logo. I received a package about a week later with a nice note from his secretary. Enclosed was the process book developed by Paul Rand to introduce the new NeXT logo to Steve…walking him through the logic of how he arrived at the final design solution. It was a great gift and still something I look at on occasion…a bit of a historical document for sure.

I always really liked the fact the Steve Jobs stopped eating his lunch to engage in conversation with me to share his passion for design. We all know Steve Jobs really valued design. That afternoon at The Good Earth he shared a bit of that passion with me, which I have always appreciated.


  1. Brian McNitt says:

    Wow. Great gift, and Steve Jobs story!

  2. Ken Peters says:


    Great story, and what a great gift to receive! What insight into Rand’s process did/does the book provide you? Were you surprised by his thinking?

    Is there a way you can scan the book and post it on this blog, and share it with the rest of us the way Steve shared it with you?


  3. Ken Peters says:

    Ooops, meant “Allen”. Saw “Brian” in the reply above and mistyped. :-)

    • Allen Ashton says:


      I like the fact that Rand did not just dive in and essentially throw darts at the wall when addressing the NeXT logo. He always used a logic when evaluating the qualities of type, line, color etc. The book breaks it down in a pretty basic but thoughtful manner. I heard him speak many years ago in San Francisco…the book and the tone of the book really does sound like Rand. Rand was not a decorator. In my opinion he was more of an engineer…which I think is fantastic.

  4. Brian McNitt says:

    Found this interview with Steve Jobs talking about Paul Rand and the NEXT branding project. Interesting quote at 1:39 about conviction and (not) creating multiple design options for clients.

    • Allen Ashton says:

      Great interview…I like the approach of letting clients in on the process and logic associated with the logo development. It shows that your listening and feels more like a collaboration.

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