Every so often I like to explore outside the world of aviation. Flying and good design share many attributes: they’re visually powerful, require precision and need to be pragmatically understandable.
I came across news that the incredible Italian graphic designer Massimo Vignelli is ill and spending his last days at home. In his long career, Vignelli’s design influenced and touched millions, even billions, of people around the world across multiple industries, and probably added a touch of elegance to your own life.
In the aviation world, Vignelli’s presence was in the form of American Airlines’ former logo which adorned the tails of its aircraft for 45 years. AA’s decision to move from its timeless logo to a new motif in 2013 caused significant consternation. He is also well known for his fondness of the simple Helvetica type face, forming the basis of the brand designs he created for American, as well as the NYC and Washington subways, and other public transport systems around the world.
Vignelli’s biggest fantasy is to able to attend his own funeral. The family has requested anyone whom Vignelli influenced or touched to write a card, so he may be surrounded by huge mail bags full of letters – the next best thing.
Before writing, watch this interview with Vignelli filmed a couple of years ago. His loquacity and vision are clear as he discusses his life work, and the importance of semantically accurate design in developing countries.
You may send a card or note to Vignelli here:
130 East 67 Street
New York, New York 10021