Assignment 2

What I learned about Massimo Vignelli was that he paved the way of modernism in America. He was responsible for introducing the typeface, Helvetica, to America. He was also involved with designing the New York City subway map and The American Airlines logo.

Massimo Vignelli, who was born in 1931, Milan, Italy, was an Italian graphic designer, and interior designer. He was known for bringing modernism to America in terms of graphic design. Vignelli studied in Brera Academy of Art in Milan. From there, he studied art and architecture. In 1957 he married, architect, Lella Valle. Vignelli was into designing furniture and glassware. He worked for a fashion group called Benetton and the Venice Biennale.

In the late 1950’s he and his wife travelled to New York, but shortly returned to Milan. Both of them started a project with Bob Noorda. They collaborated together to redesign the Milan metro system graphics. Him and his wife returned to New York in 1965. Vignelli co-founded an design agency called Unimark. The people that helped him find the design firm were Ralph Eckerstom, Bob Noorda, James Fogelman, Wally Gutches and Larry Klein. The agency became successful for a brief time in New York In 1971, Vignelli associates was founded by him and his wife.

While he spent his time in New York, he worked on designing the New York City subway map in the 1970’s. Around that time, New York was corrupted with violence and drugs. So it wasn’t the easiest place to live. However, the subway would give a sense of optimism to New York citizens in which better days will come. The subway map that he created didn’t resemble what the city above ground. Mass Transit thought thought of it like that, the subway map didn’t match what the areas looked like. Vignelli didn’t want to make it to look like that. He wanted people to navigate to different trains, not at different streets. Mass transit replaced his design in 1979. Other works of Vignelli was that he also designed the American Airlines logo. In the logo is the word “American Airlines” with the colors of the American flag and an abstract eagle. He created Bloomingdale’s Big Brown Bag, book designs for Jacqueline Onassis at Doubleday, and brochures for the US National Park Service.

Vignelli had his own philosophical views on how type was used in graphic design. It was about how you placed type and what you did with the space between and around the letters. He was always called himself a modernist. He though that America had to many typefaces and that 4 or 5 typefaces were enough. His favorite fonts to use in his work were Helvetica, and Bodoni.