The Vignelli Canon

A manual for young designers written by the famous Italian designer Massimo Vignelli. This is a glimpse into Massino’s understanding of good design and the rules that guide his work.

It’s a great, concise book structured in two parts. The first part – The Intangibles – is split into 12 sections: Semantics, Syntactics, Pragmatics, Discipline, Appropriateness, Ambiguity, Design is One, Visual Power, Intellectual Elegance, Timelessness, Responsibility, Equity.

The second part of the Vignelli Canon is more pragmatic – it deals with the tangible aspects of the design: paper size, grids, margins, columns, typefaces, texture, color etc.

The clarity of his ideas is amazing and I can’t think of a better way of spending an hour than reading this book. It will energize and motivate you!

the vignelli canon - timelessness

The syntax of design is provided by many components in the nature of the project. In graphic design, for instance, they are the overall structure, the grid, the typefaces, the text and headlines, the illustrations, etc.

Design is one – it is not many different ones. Thediscipline of Design is one and can be applied to many different subjects, regardless of style. Design discipline is above and beyond any style. All style requires discipline in order to be expressed. Very often people think that Design is a particular style. Nothing could be more wrong! Design is a discipline, a creative process with its own rules, controlling the consistency of its output toward its objective in the most direct and expressive way.

A real Corporate Identity is based on an overall system approach, not just a logo. A logo gradually becomes part of our collective culture; in its modest way it becomes part of all of us.

You can download The Vignelli Canon on his website.