CR Blog

Dear Massimo...

Graphic Design

Posted by Creative Review, 9 May 2014, 10:50    Permalink    Comments (123)

Massimo Vignelli as featured in Gary Hustwit's Helvetica documentary


One of the world's great designers, Massimo Vignelli, is very ill and will be spending his last days at home. His son Luca would like all those for whom Vignelli was either an influence or an inspiration to write him a letter.

In honouring Massimo and Lella Vignelli with their joint award of the AIGA Medal in 1982, the institute noted of the couple that "their design output has been prodigious in quantity, far-ranging in media and scope and consistent in excellence. Equally important is the influence they have had and the difference they have made....Both in the example set by their work and by their personal commitment of time and energy, design has no advocates more passionate or effective. Both teach, write, lecture, serve on juries and boards, contribute their talent and cast to worthy causes. Unabashedly urban and urbane, their participation in the world of design is enthusiastic, inquiring, generous. The Vignellis are true believers."

According to Pentagram partner Michael Bierut, "Luca said that Massimo would be thrilled to get notes of good wishes from people whom he's touched or influenced - whether personally or remotely - over the years. Luca has visions of huge mail bags full of letters. I know that one of Massimo's biggest fantasies has been to attend his own funeral. This will be the next best thing. Pass the word."

Please send your notes, letters, cards etc to:

Massimo Vignelli
130 East 67 Street
New York, New York 10021




How very endearing.
2014-05-09 11:25:08

I was just thinking of you this morning. You told my grad studio a great lstory about how market researchers affected the heller coffee cup: " they took a butterfly and turned it into a worm." So funny. So true! Thanks for the insights and laughs!
2014-05-09 14:27:43


You are an inspiration and always have been.

I've enjoyed our philosophical talks, especially listening to you and watching your body language when the passion builds and builds. You are the true Roman candle (I know you're not from Rome), a joy to behold.

With love an affection,

Steve Heller
Steven Heller
2014-05-09 16:34:57

You have a wonderful gift for clean and clear visuals that are also artistically pleasing. Thank you for sharing that talent with so many people.
2014-05-09 16:41:19

A beautiful idea. Very sad news.
Mr K
2014-05-09 16:43:15

Great guy, great person, great designer. This makes me sad.
Paul Christian
2014-05-09 16:49:45

Dear Massimo,

I met Lella and you at ATypI Lisbon back in 2006. I had just moved to Italy, and you had so much Italian spirit. Your kindness, friendliness, the passion for your work and the way you trasmit how you love what you do. I was "just" the organizer, but Lella and you would stop by every morning to share a few words, a joke and fill me and the start of my day with happiness. You and Lella left me a letter at the end of the conference, thanking me for the organization of ATypI 2006. That was my personal biggest reward of the entire event. I have kept it since and from time to time go back to look at it.

Un abbraccio forte from Reggio Emilia
Simone Angelica Wolf
2014-05-09 17:10:05

There are some people that you wish could live forever.
Jose Espinoza
2014-05-09 17:37:24

I was
Caught off guard , learning that u have
Recently taken ill. Mr. Vignelli I am currently
A design student & viewing your work
And reading about you. Has really inspired
Me. And I feel the same way about ugliness
. most of All I want toa
Say , thank you and get well soon...
Arshaunta Howard
2014-05-09 18:05:00

Dear Massimo, Lella & Luca

Greetings from Dublin and the OFFSET team.

We were greatly saddened to hear Massimo was not well but grateful to have this opportunity to express to him again how much his visit to Dublin in 2009 meant to us, and the design community here in Ireland.

Massimo, you are an absolute hero, a gentleman and a genius. Your work, ideas and practice are the main reasons myself and Bren decided to take the leap, invest our own cash and start OFFSET Creative Festival back 5 years ago.

Not only did yourself and Lella generously agree to come and inspire, but you also went to every presentation that weekend, such was your respect for the rest of our speakers and appetite for design and ideas.

Incredibly sad to hear the news that you’re very ill. Sitting, talking, spending time and sharing dinner with you and Lella back in 2009 seems all the more special right now and will always remain in all our hearts.

Kindest regards, respect and love.

Richard, Bren and the OFFSET team.
Richard Seabrooke
2014-05-09 18:38:38

Dear Massimo… My eyes full of tears and my heart is full of love for you. I am blessed I got to know you. Thank you for everything, you are my beloved Mentor. Thank you for your tremendous influence on my life. Big hug. Love.
2014-05-09 18:56:59

We are all your sons and daughters, whether we choose to acknowledge the fact or not.
Robert Silarski
2014-05-09 18:57:12


Thank you for everything you've done.

Seeing you and Lella speak when I was a student undoubtedly changed the course of my career and life.
Golden Krishna
2014-05-09 19:28:14

I met Massimo at the World Design Congress at IIT, Mumbai and was greatly inspired by his talk. But what touched me was how down to earth he was. We were having lunch when I asked him for a photo with him and he put down his plate of Biriyani right there to pose with me while Dipu clicked. I was deeply humbled.
Milen Jacob
2014-05-09 19:31:50

Thank you for all the inspiration and knowledge that you have contributed to This profession. Generations Will live on it! I wish you all the best!
Best wishes from Stockholm
Marcus Gärde
Marcus Gärde
2014-05-09 20:00:12

Dear Massimo,
You do not know me, but I have dined with you for almost every meal in my home for more than 30 years on my beloved white Hellerware. I have replaced it here and there over the years to keep it crisp and white, and it has given me joy every time I've used it, from morning cereal, to dinner. And, it was the perfect dinnerware when my kids were learning to eat with forks and spoons because the rim kept their food on the plate and off the floor. Whenever one of their young friends would come over for a meal, I knew that the ones who said, "These are such cool plates..." were special and had a good eye for design even if they were only nine years old.

I also learned a lot from you indirectly as I had the good fortune of working with Alessandro Franchini at Crate and Barrel for more than a decade. I also had the pleasure of meeting you at a Chicago event I attended with Sandro about six or seven years ago.

An admirer from afar,
Donna Speigel
Donna Speigel
2014-05-09 20:05:11

As a 20something kid in the mid-80s who was only a couple of years into his first job, I had the honor of seeing you present at a west coast conference. Your work had always inspired me. I was well aware that your name was cool, but your demeanor and delivery took my young intellect by storm. From that point on I had an even stronger appreciation for your work. May it always continue to inspire as you did. Thank you very much for fueling the flames.
Joe Ray
Joe Ray
2014-05-09 20:11:18

I just was just reading your contributions in the recent "Manuals 1" the other day. Thank you for your wisdom and inspiration.
Preston Porter
2014-05-09 20:56:58

A wonderful designer and human being. I was extremely fortunate to have met him and interview him a few months ago. This is probably one of his (if not the) last video/interviews.
Get well soon Massimo!
Maria Elena
2014-05-09 21:00:10

Dear Massimo & Lella,

I've had the pleasure of making your acquaintance a few times and each time I was humbled by your kindness and humility. I was always a fan of your enormous breadth of work, from the simplicity and freshness of the Heller collection to the minimal sophistication of the NYC subway maps. I’m addicted to Helvetica because of you and I believe that you helped to elevate the importance of design in this country. I am an alumni of R.I.T. and am so thrilled that you and your work have become a fixture there.

Thank you for your profound contribution to this world.
Brett Teper
2014-05-09 21:00:16

Thank you Massimo. Godspeed.
Miguel Buckenmeyer
2014-05-09 21:28:52

Your part in Helvetica hit me like a truck. You are truly a wise man who has been inspiration to many.
Clark Nelson
2014-05-09 21:30:24

Dear Massimo,

Thank you.
I have been constantly amazed by your energy and productivity, and by the wonderful body of work you have created with Lella Your good humor and openness I will treasure always. I remember when you and Lella showed up at a viewing of my little exhibition on the New Typography at MoMA , and dazzled all present with your insights. One of our guests remarked afterwards '"that was really special'"
It was certainly really special to me encountering both of you

I send my love and best wishes

Juliet Kinchin
2014-05-10 00:00:44

Please send your notes, letters, cards etc to:

Massimo Vignelli

130 East 67 Street

New York, New York 10021

2014-05-10 00:18:00

I think Art is the greatest gift to the world, thank you for your generosity.

Horacee Arnold.
Horacee Arnold
2014-05-10 00:24:00

You are the reason I'm a designer. Thank you.
2014-05-10 00:45:21

Dear Massimo,

I haven't know you very long, but your impact has been significant. I first met you in the Helvetica film and hearing you was a revelation. Since then I've read everything I came across with the name Vignelli, each book/article/image more fascinating than the next. I know I will continue to go to your works, not only for creative inspiration but for personal inspiration.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Montreal, Canada
2014-05-10 01:19:24

You have been an inspiration since I was a young artist trying to find my way around New York. With your help, I was able to find my way

2014-05-10 01:58:16

Dear Massimo,

What a wonderful opportunity has been provided to allow me to express to you how important you have been to my life, and to the life of my family.

Design is one – you said it all. It has played a crucial role in my life, and you were the ultimate role model, integrating design of all kinds – graphic, industrial, architecture. Life is made beautiful by good design.

I had the good fortune to visit your studios in NY years ago with classes of students from the Corcoran College of Art + Design – and to share a meal with you and Lela prior to your receipt of an honorary degree from the Corcoran. It was my insistence that it be a joint degree (over suggestions that there were no important “women designers” ! )

In our family, we eat each day from the “Massimo plates” – in fact, items of ordinary household use are often identified in our house by the designer. And Vignelli is one of the frequent ones. We own a great prototype loveseat designed by you decades ago (and you had the good grace to respond to our email query about it to confirm that we may have a unique “Massimo sofa”). My three sons have pursued paths that were influenced by your standards, working with Knoll, Bang & Olufsen, and BMW.

But more than the objects, I have been so pleased to use your videos as a source of inspiration for my design students over the years. It was, in fact, a student that drew your current circumstances to my attention.

I can only hope that my own legacy includes just a fraction of the inspiration to designers that your life has done.

Many thanks for all that you have been, and will continue to be forever.

Johan Severtson
Johan Severtson
2014-05-10 02:20:40

Dear Massimo,

I had the privilege and honour of meeting both you and your extraordinary wife Lella at Sydney Design '99 international design conference. I am deeply saddened to hear you are unwell. I have nothing but heartfelt, genuine respect and admiration for the incredible contribution and profound difference you have made to world of design and beyond. Your earnest passion for design is contagious and your words of wisdom have have travelled with me as a design practitioner. When I look through a book or view a poster, I always recall you saying "the fewer the typefaces, the better the designer" ...and it's so very true dear Sir. This is only one example of which I fondly refer to as my 'Massimoisms'. The bar you and Lella have set is exemplary and the knowledge you have so generously shared for more than half a century, will continue to quietly guide me for many years to come. The world is a better place for the difference you have made. Un abbraccio forte, Mia.
Mia Berkovits
2014-05-10 03:27:56

Non conosco bene il Suo lavoro ma, lavorando al RIT, l'ho potuto iniziare apprezzare.
Insegno italiano, cultura e cinema italiana al RIT e fuori la mia porta sta appesa la brochure del Vignelli Center in modo che i nostri ragazzi imparino ad apprezzare un pezzo dell'arte, saggezza e creativita' del nostro paese.

A volte poi per noi italiani ci si esprime ancora meglio fuori dall'Italia, un po' come Dante, in esilio:)
Che lo spirito sia lieve, e il cuore in pace.
tanta energia positiva
2014-05-10 03:46:15

I had the privilege of meeting and working with Massimo & Lella thanks to my collaborator/husband, Roberto Guerra, who had made an earlier film on them as part of a design series many years ago.. And then we got to make "the sequel" -- DESIGN IS ONE: LELLA & MASSIMO VIGNELLI, which is currently in distribution.
( Massimo -- you have been an inspiration and influence on so many people...your warmth and humanity and humor equal or even exceedl your incredible creative output and genius. And will it matter 100 years from now, and beyond? Yes, and that's what's important! Thank you for the privilege...
With love and gratitude and deep respect,
Kathy Brew
Kathy Brew
2014-05-10 03:56:21

White space essential
Your design influential
A void where you were

Senor Vignelli,
I am wishing you great spirit and peace during this difficult time. Please know how respected, and missed you will be. Design students will talk of you as the great master who changed everything that was printed. What a legacy!

2014-05-10 03:58:07

I had the opportunity to take a class with you at Harvard several years ago
that forever changed the way see. Thank you for your inspiration, wisdom, guidance.

Thank you Massimo for helping to make our world a more beautiful place to live.

Jon Cournoyer
Saint Louis Art Museum
Jon cournoyer
2014-05-10 05:47:09


You are an inspiration and always have been.
2014-05-10 07:50:44

Ciao Massimo,
sei l'esempio che abbiamo sempre cercato di seguire nella professione, nel modo di dare un senso alle cose, nella profondità di un impegno che è diventato un modello di essere designer per un nuovo standard di civiltà.
Ricordati che abbiamo un progetto da fare insieme e che presto dovrai avermi tra i piedi! Quindi: forza e serenità, per tornare presto con entusiasmo in mezzo alle belle cose di cui ti sei sempre circondato. Un fortissimo abbraccio.

Franco Achilli
A+G Achilli Ghizzardi Associati
Milano - Italy
Franco Achilli
2014-05-10 13:16:52


scrivo in italiano, la lingua madre. Affido ad altri le parole, semplici e nude.

E c’è che vorrei il cielo elementare
azzurro come i mari degli atlanti
la tersità di un indice che indica
questa è la terra, il blu che vedi è mare.

(Pierluigi Cappello)

Hai aggiunto chiarezza al mondo. Grazie
2014-05-10 14:33:01


Having meet you and sharing conversation with you has been an inspiration that can never be matched. Your passion for great design and compassion to share and teach design continues to inspire me as a design educator. I could never thank you enough for all that you have done.

Pete Bella
Pete Bella
2014-05-10 14:49:43

Dear Massimo,

I met you and your lovely bride Lella more than 20 years ago with my father, when he was a professor at the Cooper Union. I have cherished that meeting. Your insights and work add elegance to life and make the world a better place.

Andrew Jonas Sanders
Art Projects International, New York
Andrew Jonas Sanders
2014-05-10 15:23:59

Massimo -
Your design is pure. It has always made me smile. Know you are appreciated and loved.

Be well.
Susan Kramer
Susan Kramer
2014-05-10 15:25:07


One of the treasures I hold dear as a professional is your article about the Nutrition Facts label in the AIGA Journal years ago. It was so generous in its praise and, coming from such a bright star, just lit me up. When I talk to clients or staff or colleagues about great designers who have had such an impact on so many things around us, I single you out. We are our own worst critics when it comes to judging our accomplishments and weighing the value of our lives. Have no fear. You are the bar others judge themselves against.

Burkey Belser
Burkey Belser
2014-05-10 15:25:43

Not trying to be "that guy" but they said to mail the letters to him, not in the comment section of an article he probably will never read... They put his address there for a reason guys, c'mon
2014-05-10 15:31:18

No estoy seguro si leeras esto pero
deseo darte gracias por todo lo que has legado
en tu vida.
Espero seguir ese camino.

Fuerza, bendiciones
2014-05-10 18:47:04

You are such an inspiration and will remain so!

Martha Grenon
Austin, TX
Martha Grenon
2014-05-10 18:52:39

I loved their work (Massimo and Lella) and it was a trully inspiration for me!!! I could not stop looking at their projects, logos, books, furniture ... Thank you maestro!!!
2014-05-10 19:16:00


For the past 30 years of my design career you have been one of my heroes. I've never met you, but your work and your thoughts on the importance of good design will continue to influence and guide me for many years to come. You've certainly made a difference to the world and, in particular, to me.
Cory Maylett
2014-05-10 19:16:10

Dear Mr. Vignelli,

This is a belated appreciation for the wonderful Hellerware we have been using since my children were very small. Now my grandchildren use the same mugs and plates with equal joy. They are timeless and make me smile every time I reach for them.

Thank You,
Fred Ehmann
2014-05-10 19:50:36

Over 30 years ago you changed the way I see design in the world. Your influence is everywhere. Sincere and heartfelt gratitude for your leadership and all you and your wife have done. Thank you. Thank you.
Peg Nocciolino
2014-05-10 20:06:21


thank you for everything
your life
your wisdom
your incredible design
you have taught me
and my students...
I am so grateful to you.
maybe you can visit us in Richmond, again?
otherwise, see you soon. you are in my heart.

rob carter
2014-05-10 23:12:53


You are a true Renaissance man...thank you for your inspiration and visions.

Andrew Yeung
Andrew Yeung
2014-05-10 23:18:55

Dear Massimo,
I didn't have the honor to meet you, but have follow your work for years. What an inspiration for so many people!! I loved your clean lines!! Very sad to hear that you are ill, I wish you peace and love in this very difficult moment.
I will always remember you!!
Flor R Urrutia
2014-05-11 00:12:09

You are indeed an inspiration to all those who aspire to dream, and who are consumed with achieving a modicum of success, in whichever genre we are pursuing. You created your vision, and brought people along for your ride, filled with grace and evocative creation.
Your great admirer,
2014-05-11 02:47:47


How did you get so good ?

2014-05-11 04:31:31


In 2012, as a Student in Parsons.... I was able to hear you speak at the Brand New Conference. I was so honored to meet you in person afterwards at the party they had. You were so down to earth and amazing.

I loved listening to your approach to design, and also life. You're a great inspiration to designers everywhere.

BIG HUG, and Thank you!!!!

jay yao
2014-05-11 05:52:40

Our bodies get old and weak etc...but our goals remain fresh and sparkling for ever as they affect and "infect" our followers to understand and continue on our track.
Your track (vision) is truly so sincere so that it will be continued by most other designers...
Existence may care for you!
Alex Gilbert
2014-05-11 06:20:48

Mossimo your work is such encouragement. For your life we are grateful.
Don Barnett
2014-05-11 06:32:09

Dear Massimo,

I knew your work before I knew who you were. I remember being a child in the 60s & early 70s, riding the subway in New York, and I was always struck by the clarity and balance of your signage. What was this mastery I was seeing? How does one become a master of these elements? My mind was intrigued. (Little did I know at the time that you knew my dear cousin, Tracy Turner!) Later, as I grew up and became a designer and architect myself, I began to more deeply appreciate your vast body of work and the powerful influence your work had exerted in various fields.

You stand among the giants of Design - your work encompasses the entire Modern Project as so few others do. It has been a marvel to observe.

Thank you for opening up my young mind to design, for inspiring me to find beauty in simple things and to strive for excellence in my work.

Laurence Turner
Laurence Turner
2014-05-11 06:52:19

Dear Massimo,

I was beyond thrilled to get your email of encouragement ahead of one of my HOW Design Conference talks, "Good Examples of Bad Design" in the early 2000's - I will cherish that memory forever and I hope you realize how many designers you have touched with your wisdom, unwavering creativity and grace. Thank you.

Dave Fletcher
Dave Fletcher
2014-05-11 11:14:26

Gentile Massimo,
non ho l'onore di conoscerla, ma riconosco fra gli oggetti che ho più cari la sua mano. I volumi della Sansoni - così unici e impossibili da perdere di vista nel disordine dei miei scaffali - dunque mi legano a lei.
Le dedico il più speciale: è "Parole d'autore" di Bruno Migliorini, un libro prezioso per chi studia la nostra lingua. Il suo lavoro continua il suo viaggio nel tempo.

Gabriele Braggion - Milano, Itlay
Gabriele Braggion
2014-05-11 14:47:19

Dear Massimo

The Vignelli Canon is timeless particularly the considered palette of typefaces. Thank you from educators and students for this contribution to global design education.

Tony Pritchard
2014-05-11 15:22:21

I have never known you personally, but the beauty of your work has always been a great inspiration to me. You have contributed in allowing many of my dreams and my soul to grow, to explore, to love, to live.

Thank you for this.

"If you do it right, it will last forever. It will last forever."

You certainly did. I wish you peace.

London, UK
Cristina Travella Butti
2014-05-11 16:26:37

Today's announcement on Vignelli Associates's fan page on Facebook:

“Dear Friends,

We would like to write a quick note about Massimo's illness. He is in fact ill, but he is fighting strongly. He is currently at the hospital. We will continue to pass on your letters and messages. The news have spread so quickly through posts and blogs that it's difficult to keep facts from being distorted. We please ask you to be considerate and delicate in the way you share the news about this difficult moment. We also ask people posting or writing about this to please check your facts before publishing them. Long lists of forwards or re-posts can un-intentionally distort the reality. Let's all hope Massimo gets better soon. Thank you all for your support and love.

The Vignelli Team”
Marina Córdova Alvéstegui
2014-05-11 17:17:10

Dear Massimo,

You have and always will be a constant inspiration. I refer to your work during my research stage, no matter what the project. You are a practitioner, teacher and role model, and your impact on the design world will continue to provoke discussion, reaction and influence.

Sorry to hear that you are ill, you and your family will be in my thoughts.

Thanks for sharing your brilliance.
Heather Griffin
2014-05-11 18:22:49

Dear Massimo,

The only time I had a chance to speak you you and your daughter was when you visited my husband's and my Eisenman house in Cornwall CT. in the seventies. You were so very kind and I appreciated what you did with the house for a photo shoot in "House and Garden".

Although we were not frequent friends I felt your pervasive influence on the Institute and enjoyed hearing about your gifts from Julia Bloomfield, a close friend.

All my deepest wishes for you!!
Suzanne Frank
Suzanne Frank
2014-05-11 21:10:53

Dear Massimo,

Knowing you is a great privilege and always has been.


Ralph Caplan
Ralph Caplan
2014-05-11 21:24:06

Dear Massimo,

Since starting design, your work, your ethics and you as a person have been such an inspiration to me. You have taught me so much yet I am just starting. Your work through design has made such an impact not only to me, but to everyone.

My thoughts go to you and your family. I hope you get well soon.

Stay strong,

2014-05-11 23:58:45

I never had the opportunity to meet you but I have known you always.
Martin Mendelsberg
2014-05-12 01:58:51

I have been moved by your work, your life, and your words. All I can say, simply and humbly, is thank you.
2014-05-12 04:28:37

Mr Vignelli

Both Unimark and Vignelli Canon have given me lots of encouragement and inspiration whenever i came across some doubts and uncertainty with my design thinking, although I didn't get to see you in person, but to me you are always the modernist in my heart!!
Thank you for bringing us all the beautiful design

Get well soon
Ricky Ho
2014-05-12 05:14:20


please, take this as a another challange of your life and kick it in your style, with heart and passion, as you always did...

Thanks for helping to make this world a more pleasant place and for all the inspiration you have given us...

We love you!
Robert Novak
2014-05-12 09:14:22

Dear Massimo,

Ten years ago I found your work and decided to become a designer.
There are no words to explain how much you have influenced my life and design practice.
I believe your work for Knoll and Kroin is, still, some of the best ever created.
Quality is everlasting and timeless, thank you for teaching us all a lesson.

Get well soon,
Francisco (Portugal)
Francisco Belo dos Santos
2014-05-12 13:11:24

Although I've never met you, I am a graphic designer that has been influenced by you. For that, I thank you.
You should be proud of your accomplishments as a designer and your influence on so many people, young and old.
Sending you positive vibes for good health and much happiness.

Elena (USA)
2014-05-12 14:25:09

Dear Massimo,

I never had the honour of meeting you however your work, your passion and your personality has always inspired me and continues to do so. I believe you are a true gentlemen and reading the long list of comments here I can see I was right to believe so.

You truly are a legend in my eyes and no doubt countless others.

Thank you.

Jordan Hemsworth
2014-05-12 15:09:23

Dear Massimo,

You are one of the most influencial people in my life. I still carry the black adjustable pencil you gave me 30 years ago. I learned so much from you during our time together working while I was at SunarHauserman. You inspired collaboration and a love for great design that still drives me today. I am proud to have had the chance to get to know you! You have made a huge difference in the lives of so many.

Get well soon!

Chuck Saylor
chuck saylor
2014-05-12 15:20:43

Thank you for everything you've teach us and for opening a great path for other designers to follow.
Luis Escorial
2014-05-12 16:49:53

You are a designer's designer. Before it became "branding" and "graphic designer" became a throw away term. When I had dreams of becoming such a thing. When I ran to the library to pore over each new issue of Graphis that came out to read about you. When my friends who were in school at DAAP at the University of CIncinati who got internships with you and I clung to every word of their experience they had at your studio. That fandamtastic freaking big beautiful Helvetica calendar. The genius and organizational skills of the National Park Service brochures. No one would have thought an Italian immigrant would make Swiss design truly breath and come to life in the United States. You are truly an inspiration. You are one of the 12 who I would have around my dream table. Thank you for all you have done.
Richard Groot
2014-05-12 19:23:57

These are such charming notes, but why not take a few minutes and actually mail them? So that he does have bags and bags, a physical representation. I'm going to mail mine.

That's not a lot of effort for somebody who has touched so many of us so much.
2014-05-12 20:22:13

I had the pleasure of meeting you and your wonderful wife at an AIGA conference about a decade ago. After the day's proceedings, I walked into the grand ballroom where everyone was gathering for cocktails and discussion. The two of you were standing on the edge of the room, which was packed. I boldly walked up to you and, having spied the bar, said "May I get you to a glass of wine?" Without hesitation you both responded "yes!" I brought back three glasses of wine, and the two of you chatted with me for probably 45 minutes. If I remember correctly, the next day was one of your grandchildren's birthdays. As a professional designer and a professor of design, I can't even begin to articulate what those 45 minutes meant to me. You shared so many wonderful stories and insights that I still remember to this very day. And when we happened to see each other in the hallway on the following day, you both looked at me and said "Hello, Robert!" I was walking with some friends and they looked at me with great astonishment and said, "How do you know them?!?" Thank you for all you have done in your magnificent career.
Robert Sedlack
2014-05-12 21:49:50

Coraggio Massimo!

You can do it. If everyone here would just say a silent prayer for your complete recovery, it would help in a spiritual way. My oncologist says my recovery was due to attitude, but I say it was the prayers of my family and friends. It doesn't matter as long as you think something is out there helping you through the dark days.
We met for a brief few days at a Polaroid Design Council in Amsterdam in 1971, I believe. You are a true force in the discipline of design. Please stay with us, we need all the help we can get. Un abbraccio, maestro!
Paul Giambarba
2014-05-12 22:24:58

Your vigor is honorable
Your passion infectious
Your discernment is moving
Your influence overwhelming


That is Massimo

There are however more than
10 typefaces worth using! Ha.

Sleep and organize heaven
It needs cleaning up
Greg Morgan
2014-05-12 23:05:31

Dearest Massimo,

Thank you for being one of the most talented and inspirational designers for so many years! You are simply fantastic and so much a part of my every day life, even though I have never met you personally. Be well.
Gilda Harger
2014-05-13 00:23:21

Less than a year ago, I hoped on the 6 train from Grand Central heading two stops south to 28th street. I was standing, strap hanging as they said back in the day. Then I noticed this very handsome distinguished white haired man sitting in front of me. But it was the suit, one like I've never see before, the best charcoal heather tropical wool. The tailoring was impecable like nothing I'd ever seen before. Who is this guy? And then I realized it was you. I contemplated the irony of meeting the designer of our so famous subway maps riding the train sitting in front of me. So I whispered to you " didn't you design all this" while I pointed to the map behin him. Yes, you replied and I ride it as it's the best way ever to get around town. It's still a marvel to me". " How did you recognize me ?" you asked. " Well in addition to pictures, I saw you speak at Italian Night at the Type Directors Club.". Yes I remember that foundly you told me. Then when we were nearing 28th street I told you I was getting of at 28th Street, you said you were also. Where are you going he asked. I'm meeting my daughter for lunch at the Breslin as it's her 21st birthday. You were going to speak at a luncheon with Architects." You will like the Breslin " So we ascends the staid together and walked and talked, my favorite thin to do in NYC, for a few blocks. I was floating with the magical experience of being with you by the time I met my daughter. Always your fan and so deeply appreciate your accessibility to other anew Yorkers.
Anne Twomey
Anne Twomey
2014-05-13 01:41:40

Dear Massimo,

'If you can design one thing, you can design everything'
Jacque bsy
Jacque bsy
2014-05-13 02:48:17

Dear Massimo,

It was such a pleasure to see and hear you speak live (via computer) in Denver last year, after the showing of your documentary. You are an inspiration to me and many other designers in the world.

Thank you and bless you.
2014-05-13 03:17:08

Dear Massimo,

Although we have never met, you are and will always be an inspiration, in my work as a designer I often stop and ponder "what would Massimo do?" bella uomo.
Drew Davies
2014-05-13 04:28:40

Eternal admiration for you, an eternal and timeless Master !
Get well soon.
Gisela (from Argentina)
Llonch-Vidallé arquitectura
2014-05-13 04:33:46

Dear Massimo,

Thank you for helping me to think, & create "outside of the box"

I was very fortunate to have attended a presentation you gave on your body of work many years ago. Most inspired by your design philosophy, creative thoughts, processes and reasons behind your creation, such as clothing in general....simple yet elegant and why have buttons at all.

Elsie Cheng (Toronto - Canada)
Elsie Cheng Design
2014-05-13 07:36:30

My dear Massimo,

I don't think you ever knew, because even when we spent time together in Cape Town, I didn't tell you, just what a powerful influence you and Lella were on me as I started my journey as a designer, so let me tell you now.

It has been a privilege to have met you, to have been inspired by your work, to be introduced by you to the beauty of type and to see wonderful typography and graphic design conducted by a master. You and Lella have been the icons to me of what design is all about and your influence will remain an inspiration forever.

I regret that we didn't spend more time together but none the less I always feel the warmth of the hospitality friendship and mutual respect that was always there for me whenever the three of us met..

With much love, as ever and always.

Michael xx
Michael Wolff
2014-05-13 08:39:13

design is one of the best expression of the humans, and a key element of the quality of our life. What you have done is a unique testament for the ones to come. Sincerely
Roberto Villa
2014-05-13 09:35:00

"If you do it right, it will last forever"

You did Massimo, it will.
James Poore
2014-05-13 09:36:50

design is one of the best expression of the humans, and a key element of the quality of our life. What you have done is a unique testament for the ones to come. Sincerely
Roberto Villa
2014-05-13 09:58:17

Dear Massimo,
I regret that I won't be able to personally give you a hug, but I am left with the image of the ever powerful and influential Massimo Vignelli....Il Grande Capo!
Thank you! Thank you for all that you taught me, thank you for all that I learned. You and Lella have been a mayor influence in my changed my future
We will meet again in a place where time doesn't exist and if it does, I hope it stands still.
Miriam Almanzar
2014-05-13 13:01:04

Thank you for your love for design. It was always inspiring for me. You are my hero.
Martina (Argentina)
2014-05-13 13:13:43

You are such a beautiful, sweet man who's had a massive influence on my approach and career, as well as influencing countless others. Helping to demonstrate that alongside commercial endeavors, we all have a responsibility to use the talents which we have been given, to give back. To at least try to make the world a better place. To understand the far-reaching, yet everyday implications of good design. Everyone deserves it. Thank you for everything you have contributed.
2014-05-13 15:32:40

Viva la, Viva la Massimo,

You are and have always been a great icon to me.

I vividly recall the day back in the early seventies when you walked into the Johannesburg offices of Unimark International.
I was a young eager designer in awe of this Design God that had entered the room.
Never will I forget when you came and sat at my desk and made a mini corporate identity manual in a couple of minutes.
I don't know if you can recall the Stuttafords account?
To this day one of my most prized possessions is this stapled card with pencil drawings which you produced like magic.
To have met you was a greater honour than even meeting Elvis Prestley.

Barrett Joubert (South Africa)
Barrett Joubert
2014-05-13 15:49:42

Dear Massimo,

I am an artist is Saint Louis, MO. I seriously think I missed my calling as I obsess over design, function, and beauty daily. But I have benefitted from your work and influence since I was a young girl. Without your pioneering work, life would have been insufferable. The lasting freshness and elegance and wisdom you've shared have and continue to inspire me to be the best I can be in every way.

I wish you peace and comfort in knowing how much you are loved and appreciated by so many.0

With much appreciation and gratitude,

Cheri Hoffman
Cheri Hoffman
2014-05-13 19:51:34

Hey Massimo! - get the hell out of bed- I have a really neat project for you. You're the only one who can do it! jim
jim lesko
2014-05-13 20:17:57

Dear Massimo,

Thank you for giving me the pleasure of viewing your flawless simple designs for so many years.
You inspired me for decades. I am grateful to have met you briefly in Chicago at the AIGA national conference oh so many years ago. You seem to live the life I wish had the courage to live.

Kym Abrams
Kym Abrams Design
Kym Abrams
2014-05-13 20:31:24

I learned from you at the beginning, the middle and now the end(ish) of my career.
In the beginning, I was shocked to see that great design was not some complicated algorithm that was out of my reach. In the middle of my career, your design taught me discipline. Now I look to your work as inspirition to find the essence of objects. I am beginning to understand how delicate the bold simplicity is.
2014-05-13 21:13:39

Dear Massimo
I have just finished a get well soon card and I am posting it momentarily.
It is all set in akzidenz grotesk, neat and clean.
Now, DO get well soon, or I am going to send another one in Calypso and Comic Sans, ok?!?!

Goffredo Puccetti
2014-05-14 09:11:39

Dear Massimo,

I am a designer from Argentina who admires your work and ideas. I was so sad when I read the news about your illness so I'll take this opportunity to thank you for being an influence in my professional life. I am dropping this note in the mailbox, too.

I must confess I didn't know too much about you and your work until my boss, a few years ago, sent me a pdf file with the Vignelli Canon, willing it inspired me for my work at the studio. It did and it still does.

I love every word in the Canon. I love what you say about Responsibility and I find great courage in your words about Equity. It's been almost 6 years since I was sent that file and I still keep it in my laptop, plus a printed sample in my desk drawer.

Thank you for being such an influence for all designers. I'll pray for you.

María S.
2014-05-14 14:35:10

Dear Massimo,

È quasi impossibile decidere come salutarla. Quali siano le parole giuste per esprimere tutta l’ammirazione e la gratitudine.

È il14 maggio, è un mercoledì, il cielo è assolato e limpido sulla città di Partenope.

Molti anni fa scambiammo qualche email, lei fu così gentile da rispondere ad una giovane grafica italiana. Non mi meravigliai più di tanto perché so che i grandi Maestri come Lei conservano sempre l’umiltà e la curiosità.

Spero le arriveranno i miei saluti, il mio affetto e il mio grazie per aver reso unico il nostro mestiere.

Un abbraccio
Mimma Rapicano (Napoli - Italia)
Mimma Rapicano
2014-05-14 16:27:03

Dear Massimo,

Ashley Howell
2014-05-14 18:16:56

Dear Massimo-
I never had the privilege of meeting you, but when I moved to New York City in 1985 the subway map was my Bible. I not only used it to get around Manhattan, it adorned the walls of my humble abode (a hotel residency on Upper West Side ... BEFORE regentrification!). Admiration of your work influenced my interest in graphic design. You are an icon, no doubt!
Kim Miller
2014-05-14 20:52:31

Massimo ... you are 'buono come il pane' ('good like bread')

I saw you lecture in Toronto, 20 years ago and your talk still resonates with me. I wish you all the best and thank you for your professional contributions.

Sei un grande!
Anthony Provenzano
2014-05-15 13:15:12

Dear Mr. Vignelli,
was 1990, I was a young Italian graphics, having put few money from part, I ventured to New York in search of the Great Masters. I was supposed to stay in the Big Apple just 20 days but 8 month after I was still there. I met charts, I followed courses and I loved NY. The day before I left I was able finally to have an appointment with you, discouraged by the many friends that suggested not to put too much hope in the meeting and preparing the fact that would be a 10-minute meeting. I brought my portfolio with me. It was a spring afternoon. It was three o'clock in the afternoon. Your secretary made me sit in a small gray square room with the square white table and white chairs. On the top a white skylight on the ceiling of equal size of the white table. On a wall four watches with the hours of the world. After about ten minutes you came in the grey room: tall, dressed in black with a small red button at the end of your black shirt. You sat next to me, silently you leafed through my book (big and black as we used at that time). Then you closed the portfolio, you looked and told me: "I'm sure all the designers that you met you have said that you are talented, you have style and you will have a successful life. Precisely for this reason now I tell you all the mistakes you've made. "Reopened the book and with pencil in hand, you pointed me all my errors. At the end you finished my portfolio and after letting me visit your studio, we went out together in New York City at sunset. Were now the 19.30 pm. and that was the most important graphic lesson of my life. Thanks Mr. Vignelli. I will bring you with me always in my heart.
Daniela Piscitelli, Aiap President, Italy
Daniela Piscitelli
2014-05-16 13:31:55

Dear Massimo,
Thank you for trusting my company with Vignelli designs. Thank you also for all the years of smiles and pleasure derived form your creativity.
Michael Ratner
Michael Ratner
2014-05-16 17:52:57

Dear Massimo,
I want to thank you for inspiring me.
We met once long ago in Chicago with my old boss and friend, Sandro Franchini... I was so ecstatic to meet you!
You are design.
Your legacy will live on in each and every designer you've touched.
I wish you peace.
Mary Ellen Putignano
2014-05-18 03:52:31

Dear Massimo,

You've been a great influence in my work. Thanks to you I learned that "Modernism was never a style, but an attitude." Thank you for bettering the world through your design work.

I made this in your honor:

Best of wishes,

Sergio Monterrubio
Sergio Monterrubio
2014-05-18 04:22:00

Your creativity always inspired me. Your word always makes me smile. Thank you so much and be strong.
2014-05-19 03:14:27

Dear Massimo,
first when I heard about your son's be loving initiative I wondered what I could have to say to such a Maestro as you are.
Just before giving up an episode came back to my mind.
In august 2010 I "simply" sent you an e-mail. My PhD thesis was about to be printed out and I needed your permission to use some images about your work.
You "simply" replied a few minutes after, giving me good advices on how to get high res images, copyright release and matters like this.
My message now is to say thank you for being so friendly and so much interested in anything related to design and to the work of other designers.
All the Best,
Emanuela Bonini Lessing
Emanuela Bonini Lessing
2014-05-19 13:28:15

Dear Massimo: The insightful comments and criticism you made of my portfolio in 1977 helped me shape my career, I recorded it in "Dialogues With Creative Legends, Aha Moments in a Designer's Career" Thank you for showing several generations of designers what can be done with discipline, insight and wit.
David Calvin Laufer, Atlanta
David Laufer
2014-05-19 13:50:16

Dear Massimo: The insightful comments and criticism you made of my portfolio in 1977 helped me shape my career, I recorded it in "Dialogues With Creative Legends, Aha Moments in a Designer's Career" Thank you for showing several generations of designers what can be done with discipline, insight and wit.
David Calvin Laufer, Atlanta
David Laufer
2014-05-19 14:24:36

How about spending 43 cents and seding your comments in a letter? I'm sure he would appreciate it. Perhaps give him fun design, a history pop book of his life.
2014-05-21 06:22:30

I won a student portfolio show and got a trip to the Aspen Design Conference in 1981. You both were there. I had not heard of you then. I have never forgotten you since. Thank you.
Leslie Davis
2014-05-22 05:44:47

You have been a great influence from afar to both me and my students.
Thank you,
Ira Robbins
Ira Robbins
2014-05-27 17:52:30

Dear Massimo & family,
When I read of your passing today I called my parents to let them know . As a child , yours was a name I heard mentioned often around the dining room table as my father (R.D.Scudellari) was in book design at Random House and my mom (Edith Scudellari) was in television design at CBS. Your sense of design touched everything & everyone (especially here in NYC, traveling the subways and walking the streets, everyone carrying their Bloomindales big brown bags) . Thank you so very much as the world as we now know it is designed for the better, in great part because of your work & vision . My one regret: that I did not & know of this request sooner so that my family and I could have expressed this to you via letter.
Regina A.E. Scudellari
2014-05-28 02:18:32

Had the massive honour of meeting Massimo several times while researching Peter Lloyd's book on Vignelli's contribution to the design of transit maps.

We visited his apartment in 2009 and he had kindly dug out a whole number of sketches of the NYC Subway Map (some probably not seen the light of day for many years). The effort he and his team had put in to developing this iconic design, both in the 1970s and again in the 2000s was a testament to their attention to detail and design clarity. (Peter's book included many of the unseen designs not just for NYC but also Washington DC and other cities).

The world is one less bright place without him.
Mark Ovenden
2014-05-29 14:00:26

You are my sensei!
Ira Kireeva
2014-05-29 20:10:26

Dear Massimo,

I wish you all the peace, now that you rest above us, and I thank you for all you gave of yourself and of your many talents to our world.

Sometime in 2007 I called your office, with some technical questions about your Taniguchi Nine Museums book (materials, printers, etc.). I assumed I would get one of your assistants to help me, if possible, instead it was you who answered the phone (I almost choked), answered all my questions, gave me contacts at MoMA and at the printers at Hong Kong, and encouraged me to do my best. I was creating my first book back then, and here you were giving me a hand with utmost generosity. It was like having the hand of god guide my process!

I had the great honor of meeting you two years later, in 2009 in NYC. I called you to let you know I would be in NY a few days, since I wanted to personally deliver a copy the book you helped me with. I went to your office with my husband, a designer/architect as well. You greeted us with such kindness. We chatted for almost two hours- you were in no hurry, and you shared so many interesting and funny stories. You also introduced us to Beatriz Cifuentes, a great designer at your office. Lella peeked in from another room. I recognized her immediately.

This was an unforgettable experience. Like you, I was formally trained as an architect, but opted for the world of design when it came to my professional life. “Buildings take too long to build”, you said that day (I agree). You liked the “instant gratification” of graphic design (so do I)!

In life, one usually meets only a handful of truly significant people that impact one’s inner Self. You have been one of those people for me (as to many others as well, I’m sure). Your dedication and humbleness immediately stood out, your sense of humor was striking, your immense talent...hard to describe with words...

I am eternally glad I had the amazing honor of meeting you. It was a gift from above.

May your family and friends continue to celebrate your life, and may your spirit be always present among us, delivering beauty and passion, (as well as wit and humor!).

Tere Hermida-Espada
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Tere Hermida-Espada
2014-05-29 23:41:52

I'm thinking that this is one of those moments that I wish I had the opportunity to meet such an inspiring, humble and with a great ethos person as Massimo was.

The world is one less bright place without him.

Thank you for all you have done.


Bill Pantos
Bill Pantos
2014-05-30 10:55:39

dear Massimo,

grazie ancora per quello che ho potuto imparare da te durante l'esperienza di lavoro trevigiano.
il tuo stile, le tue parole, la tua classicità mi accompagnano in ogni progetto, quotidianamente.

ciao Massimo
so che leggerai questi messaggi anche da lontano
Cristina Gastaldello
Cristina Gastaldello
2014-06-01 22:10:16

I met Vignelli through my wife, who works at La FondazioneNY that he presided as few people know.
It is this way that I came to understand the greatness of the man. He was devoted to his wife and attended to her in a passionate way when she needed him. He would learn how to cook, particularly the Carli risotti. That's love! He was not the cold person that it was given to believe. Underneath he was a warm and loving person.
A positive example for all, overall, after all.
Some people measure life looking at Nature from the outside and get to accept the presence of Whom is responsable for all things. He looked at things from the inside, the empty side, and even though he was a great man and did good to people, unfortunately he had not met nor found the answer. The music played at the Memorial filled that space, which he had made, with emotions, love and sentiments. The Pastor tried to explain why the spaces between blacks sometimes are not white. But I did say a prayer for his soul his wife and family.
Enrico Rosati
2014-07-24 18:17:57

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