A designer I admire is Massimo Vignelli. He was an Italian graphic designer and architect, known for his minimalistic and timeless designs. The thesis behind all his work is that he wanted to design things that would last for a long time and stay strong designs rather than following the latest trends or fads. He believed that truly good design would stand the test of time and would only be comprised of elements that were essential to the goal the design needed to accomplish.
One of Vignelli’s works that is a good example of a design that follows his principle is the Stendig Calendar. The calendar features large bold numbers on a black-and-white grid. Arguably every element of the design is necessary for its function and goal of informing a user what the date is.
Another of Vignelli’s works that utilize simple elements but have a striking look and feel is the logo he designed for American Airlines in 1967. Shown below, the logo features an eagle with the company name in modern typography.
Arguably Vignelli’s most iconic work is that of the New York City Subway Map that he designed in 1972. In line with much of his other simple and timeless design, the map (seen below) is still in use today and its clean design makes it easy for NYC commuters and navigate the complex city subway system.
Overall, Massimo Vignelli’s work is a testament to the power of utilizing simple elements to create timeless design. Unfortunately, Vignelli passed away in 2014, but his world-famous designs live on and will continue to set expectations for graphic design for years to come. I personally will continue to use his work as inspiration and apply his strong principles to my designs.
American Airlines Logo 1967
NYC Subway Map
Massimo Vignelli Portrait