When I was a kid the other kids in school used to joke that I was going straight to Hell because my name was Heller. If I heard it once I heard it a thousand times…a day. And I'd be lying — and probably would go straight to Hell — if I didn't say the joke got tired very quickly. Then came Hellerware designed by the Vignellis.
We are pleased to announce that Season Six of Design Matters with Debbie Millman will premiere on Observer Media this Friday at 3pm with a legendary guest, none other than Massimo Vignelli — during our week-long celebration of Lella and Massimo Vignelli.
was a remarkable publication that is little known today. Designed by Massimo Vignelli as the house organ of pioneering design consultancy Unimark, Dot Zero
was published only five times between 1966 and 1968. Its mission was described in its inaugural issue: "It will deal with the theory and practice of visual communication from varied points of reference, breaking down constantly what used to be thought of as barriers and are now seen to be points of contact." The list of contributors was astonishing for its time, and the topics it covered (new technologies, transportation graphics, semiotics) were not addressed in the mainstream design press then, and indeed in come cases would not be discussed elsewhere in such depth for decades. What does Massimo Vignelli say today about this attempt to revolutionize design publishing?
A glimpse of someone's workspace inevitably brings out the amateur analyst in us, or at least the voyeur. We snoop around other peoples' desks because we think we will learn something — and hopefully something profound — about the kind of person who works there.
ANNOTATED BY JULIE LASKY
Philip B. Meggs
: Pardon me, Emigre
has won some important design awards. Why is it garbage?Massimo Vignelli
: Maybe you should be one of the design judges.
I remember like it was yesterday. It was a cold, damp day (or was it warm and sunny?) in 1970 (or 71?), well anyway, a brand new New York newspaper landed on the newsstands — The Herald
. What a surprise! Compared to The Daily News
, New York Post
, The New York Times
and The Village Voice
it was a breath of fresh newsprint.
The Black Rule is intimately connected to a typographic grid, and the paper it's printed on. It's the sign of the hand of a designer who shows no sign of his hand. It's not really necessary, but it's critical to the identity of the work and the person who imagined it. Here, a look at The Black Rule in the work of Massimo Vignelli.
Massimo Vignelli was one of the few designers I had not personally met prior to our interview, and as a result, I approached the date of our meeting with a certain amount of nervousness. It didn't help that this was also the only interview wherein I inadvertently stood my subject up.
In 1982 Lella and Massimo received the AIGA Medal for their many contributions to the design world. Here is an article which originally appeared in the 1983 issue of AIGA Graphic Design USA
, commemorating their accomplishments. It is republished here with kind permission from AIGA.
The iconic work of international designers Lella and Massimo Vignelli is now a permanent archive at a new design center, the Vignelli Center for Design Studies, set to open September 16, 2010 at the Rochester Institute of Technology. This begins a week-long celebration on Design Observer of their significant contributions to design.
My father recently told me that the scale in his doctor's office is permanently fixed at ten pounds below what is actually correct — the basic premise being that since everyone wants to lose ten pounds, a falsified result makes for, well, happy patients. And happy (albeit deluded) patients make for good business.
Fat chance. But in truth, body image remains, for many, a significant obsession. The Center for Disease Control recently reported that 64.5% of all American adults or 120 million people — are overweight or obese.
I'm not the first to write about this tricky topic
(not will I be the last) and offer the following disclaimer: this essay will reference what some readers may deem politically incorrect content
. But for those of you who think this is non-design related, think again: what could be more visual than the way people look at themselves — and one another?
Nearly 70 million people worldwide — and one in five American women— suffer from an eating disorder, 90% of them between the ages of 12 and 25. At the forefront of this epidemic are fashion models, painfully and unrealistically slender, who are the inadvertent purveyors of high fashion and low self-image — and the unlikely heroines of no shortage of teenage anorexics.
I should know because I was one of them.