When Steve Jobs began NeXT Computer after being pushed aside at Apple, he strove to build a superior company right from the start. That included hiring Paul Rand, the legendary designer of the IBM logo, to create a mark for the new company in 1986. Rand stipulated that for $100,000, paid in advance, he would create one design only which was not subject to rework or modification. This rigid approach, along with the rich symbolism of hiring Big Blue’s designer, appealed perfectly to the autocratic and visionary entrepreneur.
Rand’s design, and its exhaustive rationale (see our USC10524, NeXT Corporate Identity Presentation) totally satisfied Jobs. Particularly exciting was Rand’s decision to use the lower case for the letter “e” of NeXT, which Rand explained stood for “education [NeXT’s target market], excellence, expertise, exceptional, excitement, e = mc2.” The cube was placed at a “jaunty” angle which would appeal to young people, and brimmed with “the informality, friendliness and spontaneity of a Christmas Seal and the authority of a rubber stamp.”
Although NeXT did not fully live up to Job’s lofty expectations, it nevertheless was sold to Apple for $400 million. More importantly, its innovative object-oriented programming environment, OPENSTEP, lives on as the basis for Apple’s highly successful Mac OS X operating system.