assimo Vignelli is known for designing many things. In following Adolf Loos‘ dictum, Vignelli believed that a designer should be able to design everything from “the spoon to the city.” Vignelli was one of seven designers that founded one of the most successful agencies in the 60s called Unimark International. Soon after Unimark dissolved, he co-founded another agency with his wife Lella under the name Vignelli Associates where he still works today. His body of work extends beyond graphic design to package design, furniture design, and most notably, the design of the New York City subway signage with Bob Noorda. Vignelli’s style adheres to the modern tradition which embraces minimalism, geometric forms, and grid-based design.
This isn’t anything new, but last January, Vignelli released a free ebook called The Vignelli Canon that can be downloaded from his website. From what I’ve noticed, minimalism, typography and grid-based design seems to be more popular than ever. With new designers constantly emerging, I thought it’d be appropriate to re-introduce the book as a must-read. Vignelli said his intent was not to reduce design to a bunch of rules despite his highly opinionated advisories, so if you are a designer just starting out, take the Canon with a grain of salt.
The book is divided into two sections, The Intangibles, and The Tangibles. The first involves ideas such as semantics, syntactics, pragmatics, and discipline. The second discusses things like paper sizes, grids, typefaces, and layouts. The Tangibles section is filled with a lot of helpful information, and emphasizes the importance in grid-based design. If you are looking for a more in-depth study on grids, I’d recommend visiting The Grid System, a resource put together by Antonio Carusone of AisleOne.
March 2, 2010
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