Remembering Massimo Vignelli.


It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Massimo Vignelli. The Italian architect and designer died on May 27 at 83. In recent weeks, word of his illness motivated the design community to generate a campaign of letters, to let Massimo know how much he changed the world in which we live. At DWR, we sent him a letter, which read:

We wanted to let you know how much we appreciate the contributions you’ve made – not only to the world of modern design but also to the world in general. We’re firm believers in the notion that work such as yours improves the lives of people everywhere.

Also, we thought you might like to hear what a few of our own people had to say about you.

“We should thank him every day for the NY subway signage system!” immediately and fittingly exclaimed Alain Capretz, our Director of Studio Design. “I wish I could also thank him for a really cool shop he designed for Esprit in NY in the late 80s that was never built. It had a huge circular sales counter in the middle – bright red – and almost nothing else.”

Our Art Director, Jamie Ficker, fondly recalled one of your quotes from Helvetica. “When I first heard this statement,” she said, “it forever changed how I look at most things in life: ‘We think typography is black and white. Typography is really white. It’s not even black. It is the space between the blacks that really makes it. In essence, it’s like music. It’s not the notes. It’s the space between the notes that makes the music.’”

Added Gwendolyn Horton, our Editorial Director, “I grew up with Heller mugs and bowls. It was like having breakfast with Massimo Vignelli every morning.”

And our VP of Marketing and Ecommerce, Mark Simmons, summed up all our sentiments nicely when he said, “Thank you for making great design a part of millions of people’s lives every day.”

There’s simply no denying that you’ve affected so many for the better. Please know that you are in our thoughts and that we wish you and your family the very best.