It was truly a marriage of design—in more ways than one.
After Italian designers Lella and the late Massimo Vignelli (1931-2014) settled in the U.S. in the mid-1960s, their minimalist-approach designs became reference points of daily life—from the American Airlines logo, Bloomingdale’s Brown Bag, New York City’s subway signs, and National Parks and Fodor’s Travel Guides, to furniture, housewares, architectural interiors and jewelry.
Author Jan Conradi reveals their enduring legacy in Lella and Massimo Vignelli: Two Lives, One Vision, published by RIT Press.
Conradi’s biography paints an intimate portrait of two gifted and remarkable people who lived and worked together with integrity, passion, humor and grace. It also highlights how the Vignellis raised consciousness of good design and why it matters—as evidenced in their extensive professional archives, now housed at RIT’s Vignelli Center for Design Studies.
“Lella and Massimo merged European modernist forms and attitudes with American energy and optimism,” said Conradi. “They sought timelessness, not in a static, bubble-wrapped way, but with consideration of functionality, material integrity, message and purpose. Every project was valued and each client was treated with respect. It led to their mantra, ‘If you can’t find it, design it.’”
Conradi said the Vignellis were true partners, both personally and professionally, for more than 50 years.
“Their indelible impact is inspiring on several levels—and demonstrates the power an individual has to shape the world. Lella did it elegantly; Massimo did it with enthusiasm. The Vignellis were iconic contributors to the 20th century and it was an honor to tell their story.”