Here’s a brief interview with Massimo Vignelli that you guys have probably seen floating about for a while. I love his work; it is strong, steady, and beautiful. And in his old age the man himself is kind of adorable and witty—in The Vignelli Canon he says, “I must add that we like Design to be forceful. We do not like limpy design,” which somehow reminds me of my grandfather.
“Everything is aimed in that direction: to fight ugliness.”
Massimo Vignelli was born in 1931 and attended the technical design schools in Milan and Venice before starting the New York office of the massive design firm Unimark International. After leaving the firm in 1971—allegedly due to a trend towards marketing at the expense of good design—Massimo and his wife Lella started Vignelli Associates.
Educated and entering the field in the early end of the mid-century, Vignelli’s attitudes toward design are unsurprisingly directed toward finding a lasting, eternal design; a design that is “forceful”, “intellectually elegant”, “beyond fashionable modes and temporary fads”, as “timeless as possible”.
In the end, Massimo gets past his design philosophy and leaves my favorite quote:
“You should not have a fear of failure. (…) Instead you have to have courage; courage not to fail, you know? or courage even to fail.”