Massimo Vignelli - © Suzanne DeChillo

Massimo Vignelli (1931 – 2014)

The visible impact of designers is immediately identifiable by the objects they create – a chair, a dress, a car, even a font – but the invisible impact is much more difficult to ascertain. Influences on individuals quickly fall into the realm of the esoteric. Iconic graphic designer Massimo Vignelli died last week from complications due to an irreparable heart condition. Before he died however, his son Luca started a letter-writing campaign called “Dear Massimo”, inviting anyone who had been inspired or affected by his father’s work to send in a letter expressing their gratitude. Before he died, he had received more than  a thousand cards and letters, as well as hundreds of emails from all over the world. Some thanked him, others praised him, but all were incredible outpourings of love and admiration for a designer who had become a singular creative voice among so many. In the touching video below, Massimo reads just a few of the letters sent to him. “To see what people are saying, I cannot repeat it even, because I feel blushing,” Mr. Vignelli said in an interview with the New York Times. “Let’s say if I died soon, I would die very happy,” he said. “No regrets.”

© Massimo Vignelli © Massimo Vignelli
While Vignelli is most known for his 1972 redesign of the New York City subway map and for the classic branding he created for American Airlines, his career spanned more than 45 years and his work spans a number of genres including interior design, environmental design, package design, graphic design, furniture design, and product design.

Read the full article and see more photos of Massimo Vignelli’s work in The New York Times.

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