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#123 - Massimo Vignelli

Sent the September 20th
Author face
Article written by
Juan Jesús Millo

Writing of the week

Massimo Vignelli (Milan, 1931), a living legend of good design in all its aspects, from branding to furniture, jewelry and cutlery. The corporate identity of American Airlines, United Colors of Benetton and Knoll bear his signature, as do the identity and signage of the New York subway. Even a department store in Spain -which no longer exists- counted in 1994 with the elegance of his simple, beautiful and attractive design.

Massimo Vignelli's style is simple, sober and refined. In the age of computer design, Vignelli considered most of today's typography and manipulation possibilities as "visual pollution". He advocated going back to basics and simplifying design.

According to Alberto Corazon, for the Italian designer only four typefaces were necessary: Garamond, Bodoni, Times and Helvetica. "He considered that typography was the brick with which to build the edifice of graphic communication, as well as that we didn't need any colors other than his red, which he called Vignelli Red, Pantone 482, and black, the sum of all the other colors."

Vignelli's proposal was very geometric and abstract, but it was full of anomalies,

  • The parks were gray, not green, the color of the rivers was beige, the neighborhoods were not identified, and Central Park, which is rectangular in shape, was a square three times smaller than it should have been.
  • *It was very difficult for locals and tourists alike to identify the underground with what was above it, so the map was more confusing than helpful, and in some cases it even depicted the stop in a position that was not the real one.

It was designed to simplify the information and not for those who had to use it.

Only 6 years later, they gave in to criticism and replaced the Vignelli map with a design more geographically accurate and with more references to the "real world", the Hertz Map of 1978.

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