Massimo Vignelli (1931 - 2014)

 John Hill
27. May 2014
Photo: John Madere
The legendary graphic designer of everything from logos to signage, magazines, maps, and architectural monographs, died on May 27 at the age of 83.
News of Vignelli's failing health came on May 9, when his son Luca asked those influenced by Massimo to send a letter to the New York City office the Italian-born designer founded with his wife Lella in 1971. The influence of Vignelli Associates on other designers is undeniable – one need only look at how people took to Twitter to express their gratitude – but to see their influence on the environments we move through one only needs to ride the New York City subway, where Vignelli-designed signage is still the standard. In a moving eulogy, Pentagram partner Michael Bierut actually describes New York (in the 1980s at least) as "a permanent Vignelli exhibition."
Beyond the graphics that Vignelli and his wife designed for buildings, packages, publications, corporations, showrooms, exhibitions, and products, his lasting contribution also comes in the form of the Vignelli Center for Design Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The building (under construction behind Lella and Massimo in the second photo, and completed above) "enhances many educational programs by extending the important Modernist design values of the Vignellis" through housing their professional archive and through educational and public programs and exhibitions.

John Madere's interview with Massimo Vignelli delves into the archive at RIT while giving a peek into the ideas and personality of the designer who influenced so many:

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