Massimo Vignelli, the graphic designer behind everything from the New York City subway map to the Ford badge, has passed away at the age of 83.
After moving from Milan to New York in the mid-1960s, Vignelli and his firm, Unimark International, quickly became prolific forces in visual modernism. Over the next half-century, he helped usher a new era of typography and design into the corporate sphere. Realize it or not, his work is all around you—the logos for IBM and American Airlines, signage and mapping in New York and Washington, D.C.'s public transportation systems, National Parks Service brochures, and Bloomingdale's shopping bags.
Of course, Road & Track fondly remembers Vignelli for his work in the automotive field.
Often approached to overhaul major motoring marque insignias, Vignelli dismissed the notion of clean-slate redesigns. Instead, he stressed the importance of brand equity and opted to 'retouch' logos with clean, modern updates. He was the man behind Lancia's iconic streamlined shield in the mid-'70s, Ducati's new emblem in 1997, and, most importantly, Ford's symmetrical blue oval.
Like all great designers, Massimo Vignelli continues to live on through his work. Still, he will be missed by many, including us at R&T.
Check out Massimo Vignelli's free e-book, a must-read for any aspiring designer,
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