When you live in New York as I do, you see the influence of Massimo Vignelli everywhere from shopping bags to the subway. Coming up to a year's anniversary of his death in May at the age of 83, I think we should never forget the layer and strength of design that he bought to the industry as a whole.
Massimo Vignelli, a world acclaimed graphic designer and architect whose Modernist aesthetic reached the masses without them even realizing, he focused on simplicity through the use of basic geometric forms in all his work. A fan of the architects Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, Massimo moved to New York from Italy in the mid 60’s as many do to fulfil a dream of instigating functional beauty and change through design and boy did he do it! He introduced a European modernist point of view to the streets of New York and beyond.
His clients included American Airlines, Ford, IBM, Xerox and Gillette, Bloomingdale’s, Pirelli, Heller, Knoll, Benetton, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys, He is best known for designing the signs for the New York and Washington subways.
Massimo Vignelli and his wife Lella founded their own firm, Vignelli Associates, in 1971 in New York. It became Vignelli Designs in 1978. Lella Vignelli alongside her husband, managing the business and helping with design, they were a force together. Starting as a Graphic Design business they ventured quickly into interior, furniture and also product design. I love his range he did for Heller and many of his own furniture designs for Knoll.
As one of the major figures in Modernism Massimo had an illustrious career spanning nine decades, I love the fact that his work remains as fresh and inspiring as the day it was brought in fruition, the hallmark of an exceptional visionary. He is one of our main influences and that's why we consider him an inspiring icon.