He was counted among the top designers of the 20th century. Massimo Vignelli even designed the hotly debated NYC subway plan in the 70s. He passed away in his NYC home on Tuesday. His age at the time of his demise was 83.
He was a modernist whose designs reflected a potent vision, cognitive finesse and last but not least a sense of eternity. He laid the basis of his New York studio in tandem with his wife Lella in the early 70s.
Massimo Vignelli had a pet phrase that he spoke on numerous occasions and it went something like this: “If you can design one thing, you can design them all.” And it was a proverb that he truly followed in his existence. This here was one man who took an active part in forming the signs and symbols of the past century.
Among his handiworks and masterpieces may be included: Bloomingdale’s, IBM and American Airlines. Other home improvement equipment, bibliomania stuff, articles of furniture, expos, architectural odds and ends as well as inner sanctums were all beautifully and economically designed by this wonderful chap.
In the capacity of the most prodigious designer of the modernist century, he won a number of accolades. He shared the AIGA Gold Medal in 1983 along with his wife.
The Teflon President, Ronald Reagan presented him with the Presidential Design Award in 1985. And he earned two other prestigious awards in the middle of the Noughties.
He was born in Italy and during his boyhood saw the horrors of WWII. He remained shocked by what he experienced way back then. According to Vignelli, had be been born before or later than his birth date, he would not have become a designer.
In his teens, he became interested in design elements with a passion that knew no limits. He studied the great designers and architects of the past and absorbed what was useful from their teachings.
Vignelli also met his future wife Lella at a convention and soon the two tied the knot. He wrote several books and repeatedly insisted that the function of graphic design was to decrease the amount of vulgar chaos in the world.
In his last days he was very ill and upon the request of his son Luca several eminent designers of the world penned letters to him. May his soul find rest and repose in the afterlife.