Vignelli Design

Homage to the design legacy of Massimo and Lella Vignelli. Curated by Rakesh Rachamalla.

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I have been a reader of the New Yorker for more then half a century and I always treasured the tremendous visual equity of its design. During its long life, many technological developments happened in the typographical field. Type design and typesetting became more accurate, but these technical innovations were not reflected in the magazine.

When we were asked to redesign the New Yorker, we immediately discarded the idea of a complete restyling and focused instead on the notion of restoration, as we would have done on an historic building damaged by years of bad weather and other calamities.

So we looked at every detail of the magazine, evaluated its merits and kept or changed them whenever necessary, with better alternatives. Therefore we changed many details, from the basic typeface, to the basic grid (it had not existed before) to maintain consistency throughout the magazine. We introduced color to better highlight certain sections and consolidated the structure for better legibility and appearance.

In the end, the magazine looked like a New Yorker after a shower.

Source: http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=3947

We strongly believe in the permanence of the printed word as a witness to the culture of our time. Words and images interact to create feelings, to expand our perception, to enrich our knowledge.

Good design is a matter of discipline. It starts by looking at the problem and collecting all the available information about it. If you understand the problem, you have the solution. It’s really more about logic than imagination.

NYMag Interview, 2007

Print Magazine, 1991:

We have to make a distinction between design and art. If you are an artist, you can do anything you want. It’s perfectly all right. Design serves a different purpose. If in the process of solving a problem you create a problem, obviously, you did not design.

Proposed redesign for The European Journal by Massimo Vignelli in 1978.

Via Gridness.

3 years ago →
Proposed redesign for The European Journal by Massimo Vignelli in 1978.

Via Gridness.

Eye Magazine:

Probably the most interesting thing I learned from Vignelli Associates is that a lot of the things about design that tend to get designers really interested aren’t that important.

You see, Massimo would arrive at things from an ideological point of view. For instance, he has always had this thing about there being only five good typefaces: Garamond 3, Futura, Century, Helvetica and Bodini. I agreed with this, not so much as a moral issue, but for the practical reason that ordinary people like my mom could only distinguish between five typefaces, and that the time some designers would spend splitting hairs between Garamond and Bembo and Sabon was a waste. Likewise all the attention designers give to clever layouts and putting the page numbers in a cool place, when ordinary people just want to read the words and look at the pictures. Massimo taught me to focus on the big ideas, and I thought that big ideas were what connected with the greatest number of people.

I have a visual mind. A visual mind is interested in anything you see: things, objects, nature. A literary mind is interested in people: more prone to thinking than looking visually. They like to read. They like to analyze things from a psychological point of view. Writers like this write about isolation, and some write about being together. Each one investigates one action of the mind. And the mind, being as complex as it is, is an endless source of investigation.

— From a 2007 Interview featured on Design Observer

Euclid Table.

We are not interested in abstract shapes and contours. We prefer straight lines and geometric forms. Geometry has a timeless value.

3 years ago →
Euclid Table.


  We are not interested in abstract shapes and contours. We prefer straight lines and geometric forms. Geometry has a timeless value.

Heller mugs. Clear edition.

3 years ago →
Heller mugs. Clear edition.