Massimo Vignelli and his partner in life and in design, Lella Vignelli, are both Italians who have pursued much of their careers in the United States, while maintaining strong ties to Europe. Massimo Vignelli studied architecture at the Politecnico di Milano from 1950 to 1953 and later trained at the Universita di Architetttura, Venice. His first professional position was as a designer of glassware for Venini, and from 1958 to 1960 he taught design at the Institute of Design, Chicago, while his wife, Lella Vignelli worked for architects, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.
In 1960, the couple returned to Milan and founded the Lella and Massimo Vignelli Office for Design and Architecture. Four years later, Massimo began creating graphics for the Container Corporation of America, and designed its new logo. In 1965, with Bob Noorda and Jay Doblin he founded Unimark International, a design consultancy originally based in Milan. The Vignellis, however, soon moved to America and in 1966 Unimark established a New York office, specializing in corporate identity.
In 1971, Vignelli Associates was established in New York and subsequently designed corporate identity programs for Knoll, American Airlines, Bloomingdales, Xerox, Lancia, Cinzano, and Ford Motors. The company also designed glassware for Venini, Steuben and Sasaki, and showrooms for Artemide and Hauserman. Vignelli also turned his attention to designing furniture for Sunar, Rosenthal, Morphos and Knoll, including the well-known Handkerchief Chair and Paper Clip table for Knoll. The Vignelli’s are extremely versatile designers whose work is distinguished by clean, bold lines and a confident use of pure color. There is little that they have not conceived and executed, including directional signage for the New York and Washington, D.C. subway systems and for the Guggenheim Bilbao, Museum in Bilbao, Spain designed by architect Frank O. Gehry.
To the download the amazing Massimo Vignelli Canon, his astounding book for free, just click: http://www.vignelli.com/canon.pdf. The famous Italian designer Massimo Vignelli allows us a glimpse of his understanding of good design in this book, its rules and criteria. He uses numerous examples to convey applications in practice – from product design via signaletics and graphic design to Corporate Design. By doing this he is making an important manual available to young designers that in its clarity both in terms of subject matter and visually is entirely committed to Vignelli’s modern design.
From the introduction:
At the request of the publisher of this book I started to look in to the meaning of such a publication and recognized that it could become a useful instrument for a better understanding of typography in Graphic Design. This little book reveals our guidelines – those set by ourselves for ourselves. In several teaching situations I remarked the lack of some basic typographic principles in young designers. I thought that it might be useful to pass some of my professional knowledge around, with the hope of improving their design skills. Creativity needs the support of knowledge to be able to perform at its best. It is not the intention of this little book to stifle creativity or to reduce it to a bunch of rules. It is not the formula that prevents good design from happening but lack of knowledge of the complexity of the Design profession. It’s up to the brain to use the proper formula to achieve the desired result. With great pleasure I look back to all the moments when I learned something new in typography, either from a Master or from fellow practitioners. To have learned about disciplined design from my Swiss fellows, to have learned about the white space from my American fellows, to have learned about the forceful impact of type from my German fellows, to have learned about wit from my English fellows, and then even more from fellows everywhere. That beautiful feeling of enrichment that comes from new discoveries, new ways of doing the same thing better than before. It is my hope that this book may provide that feeling, or in any case confirm and reaffirm those guidelines that we designers love to set for ourselves.