Modernist graphic designer Massimo Vignelli died earlier today at the age of 83, leaving the Internet to mourn his passing and celebrate his timeless work. From ads and logos that appear more like modern art, to everyday objects made more beautiful by his aesthetic, Vignelli’s effect on the world of design is everlasting. Here’s a look at 10 of our favorite pieces from the late, insanely great designer.
1. NYC Subway Map: One of the most famous and iconic Vignelli designs is the Big Apple’s subway system map. When commuters first got their eyes on it in 1972, they were not thrilled at seeing the parks greyed out and the boroughs as basic white boxes. But as Vignelli explained: “You want to go from Point A to Point B. The only thing you are interested in is the spaghetti.” And what beautiful spaghetti it is.
2. Handkerchief Chair ($492): The designer made the stacking chair stylish with his 1983 design.
3. Life Lessons: Canadian designer Anthony Neil Dart created this poster series with five phrases to live by via Massimo Vignelli’s wise words. With graduation season in full swing, we think these are sure to inspire us all.
4. American Airlines Logo: As Vignelli’s official site reads: “American Airlines logo half-red, half-blue, in plain type stresses the professional, no-gimmicks attitude of the company in the colors of its home nation.”
5. Perpetual Wall Calendar ($82): Introduced in 1980, the perpetual calendar will always be up-to-date.
6. Pneumatici Pirelli: This advertisement for Pirelli tires now belongs in (and to) the Museum of Modern Art.
7. Your Love of All Things Helvetica: The designer felt that the myriad typefaces at your fingertips whenever you log onto a computer were a waste, and we can’t blame him (hello/goodbye, Comic Sans!). As a cheerleader for a simple few, including the yummy Helvetica, the designer long ago sparked our love affair with the clean typeface.
8. Heller Rainbow Mugs ($60) + Vignelli Bench ($700): Lella and Massimo Vignelli created the multipurpose bench as a casual piece for their Italian home. Available in a range of colors, we could see think of about 1,000 purposes for it. And those cups? Oh, those pretty cups.
9. Bloomingdale’s Logo + Brown Bag: The iconic Bloomie’s logo and shopping bags printed with “little” “medium” and “big brown bag” are fashion statements of their own.
10. The Weekender: NYCers on-the-go have Vignelli to thank for bringing his useful vision of the subway system into the 21st century with an easy-to-navigate online home that shows planned service changes each weekend.
Are you a fan of Massimo Vignelli’s work? Did you know he was behind some of the most iconic maps and logos? Share your thoughts + Vignelli favorites below!