The Eye

Designers Honor Massimo Vignelli With 53 Original Posters


A poster tribute to graphic designer Massimo Vignelli by Nico Gibson.  


Courtesy of Husmee

The spirit of the late great designer Massimo Vignelli, who died last year at age 83, will perhaps always haunt the streets and underground tunnels of New York City, where the signage and wayfinding system he designed for the subway with Bob Noorda in the late 1960s has become one of the city’s most familiar visual cues.

More than a year after Vignelli’s death, the graphic designers at Spain’s Husmee Estudio Graphique asked dozens of the designer’s peers to create posters commemorating the man and his work.


Poster by Estudio Pep Carrio.


Courtesy of Husmee


Poster by Bedow.


Courtesy of Husmee


Poster by Grapheine.


Courtesy of Husmee


Poster by Toko.


Courtesy of Husmee

Poster by Socio Design.

Courtesy of Husmee

The 53 posters from around the world are currently on display in Barcelona at an exhibition called Timeless. “You can reach timelessness if you look for the essence of things and not the appearance,” the late designer said. “The appearance is transitory, the appearance is fashion, the appearance is trendiness, but the essence is timeless.”


Poster by Base Design.


Courtesy of Husmee


Poster by Mucho.


Courtesy of Husmee


Poster by Face.


Courtesy of Husmee


Poster by Vasava.


Courtesy of Husmee

Poster by Hubert & Fisher.

Courtesy of Husmee

Many of the designs incorporate Vignelli’s preference for Bodoni and Helvetica. Some riff on the NYC subway design that appears to be the world’s message on his tombstone. Others mimic the design process of choosing the weight or placement of typeface letters. The tributes tend to use a simple palette of black, white, and red or the rainbow hues of NYC subway lines. There are odes to timelessness, stylized versions of his initials and of the years he arrived and left Earth, and few hand-drawn portraits of the man himself. 


Poster by Milton Glaser.


Courtesy of Husmee


Poster by Graphical House.


Courtesy of Husmee


Poster by Atlas.


Courtesy of Husmee

BVD_MV Poster 70x100_Original_150216

Poster by BVD.


Courtesy of Husmee


Poster by Ruiz + Company.


Courtesy of Husmee

cartel timeless vignelli.indd

Poster by Estudio Lanzagorta.


Courtesy of Husmee


Poster by Mario Eskenazi.


Courtesy of Husmee


Poster by Mash Creative.


Courtesy of Husmee

Taken together, the posters offer both a kaleidoscopic overview of how the design world saw Vignelli and an informal study in variations on a theme that reveal something about the individuality of the design process.


Poster by Alberto Corazon.


Courtesy of Husmee

_Massimo Vignelli

Poster by Alambre.


Courtesy of Husmee

But the entry from Beatriz Cifuentes and Yoshiki Waterhouse, Vignelli’s associates for the last 15 years of his life, offers a tiny, intimate glimpse of how Vignelli himself viewed the world of design.


Poster by Cifuentes Waterhouse Design.


Courtesy of Husmee

“For Massimo Vignelli, the number 23 tightly kerned in Helvetica represented graphic perfection,” the designers write in a helpful nugget of explanatory text printed in the upper righthand corner. “He loved its clean curves, negative spaces, and tension between the two ‘kissing’ numerals. He always looked for any opportunity to use it.”

Poster by Mark Studio.


Courtesy of Husmee.

Timeless is on until Aug. 31 in Barcelona. All 53 posters can be viewed online at Husmee.