Teachings from Massimo Vignelli

Charchit Garg
2 min readMay 27, 2018
Massimo Vignelli

Massimo Vignelli was an Italian designer who worked in a number of areas ranging from package design through houseware design and furniture design to public signage and showroom design. He was the co-founder of Vignelli Associates, with his wife, Lella.

His ethos was, “If you can design one thing, you can design everything,”.

Here are some of the teachings from Massimo Vignelli, which I found interesting and educational.

1. Good Design is a matter of discipline. It starts by looking at the problem and collecting all the available information about it. If you have understood the problem, you have the solution.

2. You can reach the timelessness if you look for the essence of things and not the appearance. The appearance is not permanent, but the essence is timeless.

3. If you do it right, it will last forever.

4. A grid is like underwear, you wear but it is not supposed to exposed. And don’t be govern by the grid, instead govern the grid.

5. The first thing you need to make clear to a client is that you aren’t there to answer his/her wants but to answer his needs.

6. Design is Functional and Art is not Functional.

7. Type should not be expressive at all. You can write the word ‘dog’ with any typeface and it doesn’t have to look like a ‘dog’. But there are people with different beliefs that think that when they write ‘dog’ it should ‘BARK’.

8. Good Typographer always have sensitivity about the spacing between the letters. Typography is really white, it’s not even black. It’s the space between the blacks that really makes it. In a sense it’s like music, it’s not the notes, it’s the spacing between the notes that really makes the music.

9. If you can design one thing, you can design everything.



Charchit Garg

I share what I write in my so called "Crap Diary" and some other stuff too. Sorry for not being specific here.