Response to The Vignelli Canon

Response to the Vignelli Canon
            
As I was reading the 49-page booklet written and designed by Massimo Vignelli, I was incredibly fascinated by his insights regarding graphic design in particular. The first section that I found to be intriguing was Vignelli’s description of appropriateness. I thought that seeing appropriateness in terms of solving a specific problem for the client that is purchasing a design or logo to be a fresh perspective that I had not previously considered. If I were to read more about this specific element of design, I would be interested to know more about his interpretation of “appropriation” that he mentioned at the end of this section and how it relates to creating a design that will satisfy all issues that a client faces when coming to them for their expertise in the first place. His contrast between the previous section entitled ‘Discipline’ and his discussion of how appropriateness should not be confined to certain guidelines was rather confusing to me, because he seems to be completely contracting his previous statements regarding how discipline is “a set of self-imposed rules, parameters within which we operate” (Vingelli, 16). If I could speak to Vingelli myself, I would ask him how he holds both beliefs in high esteem when they appear to push directly against each other. 

            The next section that stood out to me especially was entitled ‘Timelessness’. I thought that his perspective on how society views temporary solutions and “the culture of waste” (Vignelli, 28) as negative was correct based on when he wrote this pamphlet. However, in our modern society, it seems as though most people value instant gratification and easy, thoughtless solutions upon which they can rely until the issue inevitably arises once again. This translates to design based on what is appealing to us as people living in 2023. Our desire to purchase or utilize an object or service depends on the values we hold at that particular time. I am curious as to how Vignelli would create and develop attractive designs for a more modern world in which we currently reside. With that being said, I think that, as he mentions in this section, people will continue to recognize and value logos and designs that are considered timeless and have continually proven to represent a quality product or service. Therefore, the dichotomy between a lack of patience, lack of concern in terms of quality, and changing goals, versus Vignelli’s point that we will always have a penchant for “design that is clear, simple and enduring,” may evolve and grow together into a new type of consumerism and desired outcomes of design from the modern public. 

I also found the section that discussed sequences of designs in publications, or “the static experience of a spread and the cinematic experience of a sequence of pages,” (Vignelli, 84) to be rather interesting. Something that I previously denoted as simple and unimportant can clearly have an impact of great proportions on the reader if executed in poor taste. As Vignelli explains in this section of the pamphlet, seeing layouts, and as a result, a sequence of layouts, is a sign that the overall design within the publication is of poor quality. This makes me reconsider how I view certain books that I read as a child due to their multimedia contents, such as pop-out art, images, and text. When Vignelli elaborates on the specific sequence of layouts that he prefers, which is “a text beside a picture on a full bleed page, followed by a full bleed picture spread, followed by a page with a full bleed picture facing a white page with a picture – either on the center or upper right corner,” (Vignelli, 84) I thought to myself that this may appear rather bulky and overexaggerated to me if I was reading certain materials. The next thought that occurred to me was how this is exactly Vignelli’s point; there are so many aspects, parameters, guidelines, and semantics that impact quality graphic design that taking them all into equal consideration when creating a final product is vital. Therefore, as Vignelli says, solving problems is incredibly important when practicing and completing graphic design. 

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