Since the ripe age of around 8 years old I was mandated by court to get onto a plane and visit my wayward parent. I would fly “alone” as an unaccompanied minor to whatever destination my Father called home. I remember my first time on a plane like it was yesterday. I had to wait next to the gates of the terminal walkway that led to the plane for what felt like hours. Finally I was the first to be escorted down the walkway to make my way to my seat. Before I could even begin to leave my bags I was allowed to meet the pilot and co-pilot. They were older gentlemen who gave me the opportunity to ask all manor of silly questions about the millions of buttons a switches at their disposal.
I was then given a little stick on pair of “wings” that looked like the stewards name tags, it even had the little eagle that looked like an ‘X’. I proudly wore that through 2 plane rides and refused to get rid of it for months.
I have Massimo Vignelli to thank for one of the most vivid brands scorched into the recess of my mind. Mr. Vignelli designed the American Airlines Logo that held the eagle in the ‘X’ position. He designed many things. I read a small history of his life and found that design was not just in art but design was an art. Mr. Vignelli started in architecture before later going to design school on top of it all. He and his wife made their own companies and focused on design. The design of what…well just about everything. The Vignelli companies, his first and the one he and his wife later created, worked with large corporations on a number of things.
His success with the American Airlines logo was not his only success. He had countless of others to include the Knoll logo, a calendar design, and even his own typeface called Bodoni. Personally I think his most famous is the New York subway system map design. Even though the map has been redone his map is still celebrated for the base idea it gave.
Mr. Vignelli lived the idea that creativity needs knowledge to thrive. I am a firm believer that their is an education for everyone. Design be it for practical or artistical use can only get better if we share our knowledge of it. Design reaches concepts in the physical and emotional levels. It plays a massive role in our lives. Reading this information and seeing some of Mr. Vignellis’ work is inspiring and informational. His examples of the modern aesthetic can be passed for years to come, even once the movement of design has left it behind in favor for a new favorite design concept. I think he understood the importance of passing on that information and it is why he wrote the book on his life. He wanted to show where his inspiration came from and how his knowledge affected his work.