They’re known by everyone. We see their work if not every day, it’s close there to every day. But like most designers, most of us don’t know their names. It’s Lella and Massimo Vignelli. This new documentary reveals to us all just how wonderful this couples work has been, and what a gift they have given to us all through design.
Throughout their career, their motto has been, “If you can’t find it, design it.” Their achievements in industrial and product design, graphic and publication design, corporate identity programs, architectural graphics, and exhibition, interior, and furniture design have earned worldwide respect and numerous national and international awards for over 40 years.
In 1965 Massimo brought the Helvetica typeface to the U.S. Notable projects include: New York’s subway signage and maps; the interior of Saint Peter’s Church at Citicorp Center; Venini lamps; Heller dinnerware; furniture for Poltrona Frau; and identity programs for Knoll International, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ford, and American Airlines.
Leaders on the frontline of the design profession, the Vignellis continue to be mentors to other designers. Their archive is being housed in a new building — The Vignelli Center for Design Studies — at the Rochester Institute of Technology, which will enable future generations to appreciate the Vignellis’ contributions.
Many from the world of design — from architects Richard Meier and Peter Eisenman to graphic designers Milton Glaser, Michael Bierut, and Jessica Helfand, among others — speak about the Vignellis’ work and tell us anecdotes. DESIGN IS ON brings us into the work and everyday moments of the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity, warmth, and humor.