By Anne Leader

Graphic designer Massimo Vignelli died on 27 May 2014 in New York City. He was 83. Born in Milan and trained there and in Venice, Vignelli first worked in the United States while on a fellowship in the late 1950s. He returned in 1966 to establish the New York branch of Unimark International, one of the world’s largest design firms. He started his own firm, Vignelli Associates, with his wife Lella in 1971. Vignelli’s hand can be found in numerous well-known corporate logos and headquarters, including branding and interior design for American Airlines, IBM, Xerox, Ford, Gillette, and Bloomingdale’s. He may be best known for his design for the New York City Subway System signage and a map that while recognized as efficient and accurate, never found popularity among New York City riders. Vignelli’s work can be found in the permanent collections of several museums in his adopted home: the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Collections in Philadelphia, Montreal, Jerusalem, Munich and Hamburg, Germany also have Vignelli designs among their holdings.

New York Subway Map, Massimo Vignelli, 1972

Massimo Vignelli in 2013, at The Bronx Design and Construction Academy, working with Publicolor, a nonprofit that brings together architects and public school students. Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times 

Corporate Branding for American Airlines

Calendars showing Vignelli’s aesthetic of design simplicity

Heller Stacking Dishes, designed in 1964 by Lella and Massimo Vignelli. Vignelli Associates/First Run Features 

Lella and Massimo standing in front of the Vignelli Center for Design Studies during construction. RIT, Rochester, New York

Vignelli Design Montage

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