Design Observer

About
Books
Job Board
Newsletters
Archive
Contact



Observatory

About
Resources
Submissions
Contact


Featured Writers

Michael Bierut
William Drenttel
John Foster
Jessica Helfand
Alexandra Lange
Mark Lamster
Paul Polak
Rick Poynor
John Thackara
Rob Walker


Departments

Advertisement
Audio
Books
Collections
Dear Bonnie
Dialogues
Essays
Events
Foster Column
From Our Archive
Gallery
Interviews
Miscellaneous
New Ideas
Opinions
Partner News
Photos
Poetry
Primary Sources
Projects
Report
Reviews
Slideshows
The Academy
Today Column
Unusual Suspects
Video


Topics

Advertising
Architecture
Art
Books
Branding
Business
Cities / Places
Community
Craft
Culture
Design History
Design Practice
Development
Disaster Relief
Ecology
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Fashion
Film / Video
Food/Agriculture
Geography
Global / Local
Graphic Design
Health / Safety
History
Housing
Ideas
Illustration
India
Industry
Info Design
Infrastructure
Interaction Design
Internet / Blogs
Journalism
Landscape
Literature
Magazines
Media
Museums
Music
Nature
Obituary
Other
Peace
Philanthropy
Photography
Planning
Poetry
Politics / Policy
Popular Culture
Poverty
Preservation
Product Design
Public / Private
Public Art
Religion
Reputations
Science
Shelter
Social Enterprise
Sports
Sustainability
Technology
Theory/Criticism
Transportation
TV / Radio
Typography
Urbanism
Water


Comments (5) Posted 09.12.10 | PERMALINK | PRINT

The Editors

Lella and Massimo Vignelli: A Celebration


If — as Mark Twain once wrote — the Creator made Italy from designs by Michaelangelo, then who made the rest of the world?

Lella and Massimo Vignelli may not have made it, but they sure as hell designed a lot of it.

From typography to textiles, furniture to flatware, there is little that has not been touched by Lella and Massimo Vignelli. Brightly colored stackable mugs. Elegant printed materials for so many institutions. Books and magazines, tables and environments, jewelry, logos, posters, toys, maps. Think everything old is new again? You might be right. In the Vignelli galaxy, black is the new black.

This week marks the opening of the Vignelli Center for Design Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology. In the coming days, we will bring you interviews, articles, essays and appreciations; podcasts, film excerpts and no shortage of photographs; remembrances from former Vignelli design staffers; and much, much more.

We hope you will join us in congratulating Lella and Massimo, and in thanking them for their significant contributions to design.



Background on the Vignelli Center for Design Studies: A Press Release from the Rochester Institute of Technology

 The iconic work of international designers Massimo and Lella Vignelli is now a permanent archive at a new design center, the Vignelli Center for Design Studies, set to open September 16, 2010 on the campus of Rochester Institute of Technology

The Vignellis created the New York City subway signage, the
Handkerchief Chair, the Paper Clip Table, the Stendig calendar, the interior of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City, the corporate identity programs for Xerox, American Airlines, packaging programs for Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue, to name just a few.
 
An archive of the Vignellis design work over their 40-year career, along with an extensive collection of original source materials, will serve as an international resource and be accessible for study. In addition to the archive storage rooms, the nearly 19,000 square foot Vignelli Center also houses offices and the Benetton Gallery, which will feature an exhibit “Design is One,” composed of select pieces from the Vignelli collection. 

“In many ways, the Vignellis are to the world of design what Einstein was to physics,” says
R. Roger Remington, RIT’s Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design. “Through the scope and integrity of their work, the Vignellis have influenced design for more than four decades. The Vignelli Center for Design Studies at RIT will emphasize design studies (history, theory and criticism) and be a destination for students, faculty, professional designers and scholars from around the world.” 

Adds Massimo Vignelli, Vignelli Associates: “It is our dream that the center will foster studies related to Modernist Masters, exhibitions on their work and other related subjects. The center elevates RIT’s and positions the university on the international forefront of design studies. Lella and I are delighted to see our dream take shape.”

The center will serve as a hub for design education, scholarship and research, expanding the scope of the programs offered through RIT’s School of Design. The school offers degree programs in graphic design, industrial design, interior design, new media design and imaging and computer graphics design. The university also has international exchange programs with the
Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Dessau, Germany, and in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

The Vignelli collection complements RIT’s thirty-five collections of Modernist American graphic design pioneers such as
Lester Beall, Will Burtin, Cipe Pineles, William Golden and Alvin Lustig, among others. The university began acquiring these collections in the mid 80s.
      
“The Vignelli Collection adds to RIT’s impressive holdings in the realm of modernist design studies,” says Remington. “One of our major educational goals is to develop a new graduate degree program in design studies which will optimize the use of the archives and focus on the history, theory and criticism of design.”

Adds
Richard Grefé of the American Institute of Graphic Arts: “The Vignelli Center for Design Studies will be instrumental in defining the role of design in society and commerce. RIT’s commitment to archiving the artifacts of creativity will allow future generations to appreciate and build on the contributions of the Vignellis and other designers in an unprecedented way.”

Through the Vignellis, RIT has formed a partnership with
Benetton Group and its internationally renowned social communication research center, Fabrica, headquartered in Treviso, Italy. Fabrica draws artists and designers from all over the world. The main exhibit gallery in the Vignelli Center, the Benetton Gallery, is named in honor of a major donation from the Benetton Group.

A donation from the
Helen Hamlyn Trust of Great Britain, in conjunction with RIT, funds the Massimo and Lella Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design. R. Roger Remington holds this endowed professorship. Lady Hamlyn will be on hand for the dedication ceremony.             
      
Also in attendance at the dedication will be renowned Italian graphic designer Armando Milani. Milani specializes in branding programs and posters for humanistic causes. His exhibit, “From the Eye to the Heart” will present 50 posters and 50 logotypes. One of his most recognizable posters — Translating War into Peace — was published worldwide in 2005 by the United Nations and will be part of the exhibition.

To learn more about the Vignellis and their international achievements, visit
www.vignelli.com.

— Kelly Downs
|
Share This Story

Comments (5)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT COMMENT >>

So I can go to RIT and access the Vignelli archives? I might have to plan an upstate vacation around this. Bravo!
James Puckett
09.12.10 at 11:02

BRAVO!
pat Taylor
09.17.10 at 04:05

Yes!
Andrew Kopietz
09.17.10 at 07:35

As an RIT graduate, I am proud. As a designer I am grateful to know the Vignelli’s contribution to design is being so carefully collected and preserved in that space. Fantastic!
Daniel Pipitone
09.20.10 at 11:25

Yay! This is at my alma mater! Awesome!

http://www.designladynyc.com/
Jerlyn
09.28.10 at 03:43


Design Observer encourages comments to be short and to the point; as a general rule, they should not run longer than the original post. Comments should show a courteous regard for the presence of other voices in the discussion. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.
Read Complete Comments Policy >>


Name             

Email address 




Please type the text shown in the graphic.


|
Share This Story



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Design Observer is edited by Michael Bierut, William Drenttel, Jessica Helfand, Julie Lasky and Nancy Levinson. William Drenttel is Editorial Director and Publisher.
More Bio >>

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS









MORE ON Vignelli


Looking Back, Thinking Forward: A Narrative of the Vignellis
Vignelli Celebration: Jan Conradi on Lella and Massimo Vignelli and the opening of the new Vignelli Center for Design Studies at RIT.

Massimo Vignelli
Vignelli Celebration: Season premiere of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, a podcast interview with Massimo Vignelli.

Heller on Heller
Vignelli Celebration: Steven Heller talks about the redemptive qualities of having the same name as Vignelli's Hellerware.

Massimo Vignelli: Oppositions, Skyline and the Institute
On Places, a gallery of Massimo Vignelli's graphic design work for the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, written and curated by Kim Förster.

The Kindness of Strangers
Vignelli Celebration: If charity begins at home, how can we proclaim new and progressive agendas of social change without examining ourselves, our students, our profession?

Dot Zero
A look inside little-known design publication Dot Zero, the house organ of pioneering design consultancy Unimark, featuring a slide show and an interview with its designer, Massimo Vignelli.

Massimo Vignelli’s Desk
Vignelli Celebration: Alice Twemlow snoops around Massimo Vignelli's desk.

Massimo Vignelli vs. Ed Benguiat (Sort Of)
Vignelli Celebration: Republication of the 1991 debate between Massimo Vignelli and Ed Benguiat published in Print magazine.

Vignelli’s Herald (or Heralding Vignelli)
Vignelli Celebration: Steven Heller remembers the Herald.

Mr. Vignelli's Map
Vignelli Celebration: Massimo Vignelli's 1972 New York City subway map is a beautiful example of information design that was ultimately rejected by its users.

John Madere: Massimo Vignelli
Vignelli Celebration: This film about Massimo Vignelli was directed and filmed by John Madere in 2010.

The Black Rule
Vignelli Celebration: Lorraine Wild examines The Black Rule as a graphic device in the work of Massimo Vignelli.

Lella Vignelli
In my ten years at Vignelli Associates, I came to understand the relationship between the two brilliant designers who ran the office. Massimo would tend to play the role of idea generator. Lella served as the critic, editing the ideas and shaping the best ones to fit the solution.

Interview with Massimo Vignelli
Vignelli Celebration: Debbie Millman interviews Massimo Vignelli.

Lella and Massimo Vignelli: The 1982 AIGA Medal
Vignelli Celebration: In 1982 Massimo and Lella 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 4.

RELATED POSTS


The Public Library
“The public library is a singularly American invention.” An excerpt from the new book The Public Library: A Photographic Essay.

Playing With Design: Fredun Shapur
Add Fredun Shapur to the pantheon of modern designers making winning and sculptural objects for children.

Remembering Alvin Eisenman
Alvin Eisenman received the AIGA Medal in October, 1991. Chris Pullman, a student in Eisenman's class of 1966 — and a member of the faculty ever since — gave these remarks at the event.

Learning New Tricks
Harvard doesn't have any design courses, but I've found new friends in "material culture." What it's like for a critic to go back to school.

A Manifesto for Higher Learning
Andrew Howard, MA course director in Communication Design at ESAD — Escola Superior de Artes e Design in Matosinhos, Portugal — shares this with his incoming graduate students each year.