Review: design: Vignelli: Graphics, Packaging, Architecture, Interiors, Furniture, Products

Get lost in the pages of a good book—it’s the soul of any room.

design: Vignelli: Graphics, Packaging, Architecture, Interiors, Furniture, Products
Written by Massimo Vignelli and Beatriz Cifuentes-Caballero

If you’ve ever seen an NYC subway map, shopped at Benetton or Bloomingdale’s or flown American Airlines, you’ve encountered Massimo Vignelli. Along with his wife Lella, he elevated the art of graphic, product and interior design for the public long before ‘design for all’ and ‘democratic design’ became industry echoes. This exciting new monograph is a triumph, revealing the designer’s oeuvre in a fashion that is both reverent and immensely pleasurable.

The volume’s 408 pages and 850 colour photos are presented in four main sections: essays, the Vignelli process, early work and words. Each of the 11 essays – beginning with Vignelli’s passionate discussion of modernism – are exceptional. The design luminaries that authored the essays – Germano Celant, Mildred Constantine, David Revere McFadden, Joseph Rykwert, Steven Heller, Kenneth Frampton, Yoshiki Waterhouse and Debbie Millman – all honour their subject with wit and respect.

The rest of the volume is a visual compendium and cultural digest of Western consumer life since the ‘60s, evoking a mix of nostalgia, joy and optimism. This book is an essential read for design students, practitioners and anyone interested in how design functions in Western culture.

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