Design Digest 3: remembering Massimo Vignelli

Published in Storytelling by

Earlier this week the Italian-American designer Massimo Vignelli died. Many friends and admirers paid tibute to the master. In this digest three must-reads.

Michael Bierut on Massimo Vignelli (1931-2014)Design Observer
‘It was Massimo who taught me one of the simplest things in the world: that if you do good work, you get more good work to do, and conversely bad work brings more bad work.’ Michael Bierut, who started his career at the studio of Massimo Vignelli, wrote warmly about his teacher and friend who passed away earlier this week. Bierut recalls some other lessons and, as the youngest in the studio, being introduced to former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. ‘He had had many other designers work for him before me and would have many others afterwards. But for me, there would only be one: my teacher, my mentor, my boss, my hero, my friend, Massimo Vignelli.’

Massimo Vignelli‘s work and
Ellen Lupton, curator of Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum in New York, gave an excellent roundup of Massimo Vignelli’s approach and influence as a designer. ‘Confronting the upheavals of Pop, post-modernism, deconstruction, and the digital age, Massimo didn’t change his methodology so much as polish it into an ever sharper, more refined instrument. His ability to stay modern in a post-modern world sealed his reputation as one of the great designers of our time.’

Vignelli’s reaction to all the letters he gotNew York Times
Massimo Vignelli’s son Luca put out a call for letters to his dying father on 9 May. Ten days later Julie Lasky of the The New York Times visited Vignelli, who by then had received hundreds of letters. ‘To see what people are saying, I cannot repeat it even, because I feel blushing,’ Vignelli told her. One day before he died, Vignelli was also filmed by the NYT reading and reacting on all the messages he had received. ‘The best award is the knowledge of being recognized as the master of all these young people,’ the master says in the short video.

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