“Styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style.” That quote by Massimo Vignelli elegantly summed up his philosophy of design — and, by the way, what did he do that was not elegantly done?
Mr. Vignelli died yesterday at the age of 83 after a long illness. Born in Milan and trained as an architect in Milan and Venice, he was an admirer of Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, and spent a lifetime translating the concept of “functional beauty” into everything he designed. He was the leading “modernist” graphic designer, striving for disciplined, intelligent and simplified solutions based on timeless geometric forms. A biography accompanying the presentation of the AIGA Medal to he and his wife states: “Vignelli design, in both three dimensions and two, is highly architectural in character. Massimo’s posters, publications and graphic designs seem to be built in stories, separated by the now-familiar, bold, horizontal rules. Basic geometry is respected. The investigative design process moves from the inside out: ‘The correct shape is the shape of the object’s meaning.’ The Vignelli commitment to the correctness of a design has taken their work beyond the mechanical exercise of devising a form best suited to a given function. They’ve always understood that design itself, in the abstract, could and should be an integral part of function.”Read More