Why is Massimo Vignelli important?

Massimo Vignelli

Everything I know someone else thought me. Even if I concluded something on my own, I would not arrive to that conclusion if I was not challenged by someone.

One of the people who challenged me was Massimo Vignelli. I was lucky to work with him on Benetton digital redesign in the early 2000s. I was also lucky that he allowed me to work with him, instead of for him. He positioned us as “I knew digital and he knew design” and it worked.

While working with Massimo I realized his deep motivation behind everything he did. He was not a graphic designer, an architect, or anything similar. He was much more. Massimo Vignelli was an absolute guarantee of efficiency in communicating with customers. He was totally dedicated to an unobstructed experience of the customer. No confusion, no distraction, no tricks, just pure value from the company to the customer.

This was not a design statement. This was a political and a philosophical statement. Massimo could never design anything which did not deliver value in a straight line to the customer. He approached design without compromise. With his design he forced maximum transparency and utility from the entire company. This created enormous equity for his clients in a market which was bothering customers with all kinds of fake values.

Massimo’s design was a guarantee that the value is real. His design could never hide the lack of value. He could only make value more accessible to the customer.


PS Below is a Benetton digital design Massimo and me made together in 2001. You will need to install Flash to use it. Selected links are interactive.

To learn more about Massimo Vignelli see Vignelli Center at RIT.
Read other posts about Massimo Vignelli.

Written by: Nikola Tosic
Publishing date: 23 Apr 2018