Virginia Sanchez


COMD 1112


Massimo Vignelli: Simplicity 


Massimo Vignelli was born on January 10, 1931, in Milan, Italy. Vignelli was a talented Italian designer that worked in “2D”, graphic design, and “3D”, architecture. Beginning at the age of 16 Vignelli was able to acquire a large number of internships with notable Italian architects and designers such as Achille Castiglioni, Giancarlo De Carlo, Ignazio Gardella, etc. In his early years, Vignelli seemed to focus more on architecture as he obtained his first degree in Politecnico di Milano for architecture in 1953. Around 1953 to 1957 he had also attended the school of Architecture and University of Venice. Despite his education largely focusing on architecture Vignelli would experiment and succeed with all forms of art. Around 1948 to 1950, while Vignelli was still a student at Brera Academy of Art, Vignelli worked for the photo agency of federal Toscani while in 1955 he even designed a house. As Vignelli once said “If you can design one thing, you can design everything.” a principal he seemed to follow for most of his design career. Vignelli would later move to the united states with his partner Lella Vignelli and establish Unimark in 1965, one of the first design companies to have offices worldwide. Under the company were talented designers such as close friends Bod Noorda and Ornella Noorda, Ralph Eckerstorm, and Larry Klein. Similar to Massimo Vignelli’s own design process, Unimark was strict on organization and emphasized the use of the grid as well as the typeface Helvetica to maintain consistency in all the company’s design work. Despite the number of talented designers working under Unimark, the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1977. Although short-lived the company had a large influence on American design and company aesthetics in general still followed to this day. Vignelli established a new company under the name Vignelli Associates for design as well as Vignelli Designs for furniture and objects. Vignelli Associates would go on to make designs for Bloomingdales and knolls. Vignelli is a designer that believed design should be simplistic and maintain structure in design. In his work, there is a trend of a simple typeface with thoughtful placement and bold color. As expressed in his most notable work for the New York subway. Vignelli had understood the consumer and created a simplified and visually appealing subway system to read. This type of design would later become an international standard. Massimo Vignelli had always focused on what the customer needed and created classic designs that would be able, and have been able, to withstand the years to come.