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From the Mouths of Legends: Quotes from Wim Crouwel and Massimo Vignelli

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We’re feeling especially quotable today, so in addition to the wise words uttered by Steven Heller, we’ve also got some sage wisdom from the Wim Crouwel/Massimo Vignelli AIGA NY talk last night, moderated by Alice Twemlow (who we hear was “fantastic”). Serifcan Ozcan and Scott Stowell, both of Open, compiled these memorable moments, which you can print out and put alongside those Heller ones you’ve already hung on your wall.

Crouwell: “The grid is like the lines on a football field. You can play a great game in the grid or a lousy game. But the goal is to play a really fine game.”

Vignelli: “Emigre is the worst thing that ever happened to this country. It’s unbelievable the damage they have done. A total disaster. [laughter] You laugh, but you should cry.”

Crouwel: “Neutrality has its own aesthetics.”

Crouwel: “Design is something to help society. You can build. You can add to it.”

Vignelli: “My desk is the only place where I’m happy. I hate vacations.”


Vignelli (on the negative reaction to his MTA subway map, which he believes was caused by the geography being abstracted): “Credibility is extremely important. Once you lose it, it’s gone. It’s like love–once you lose trust, it’s over.”

Vignelli: “One life is too short for doing everything.”

Vignelli (comparing architecture and design): “I like the instant gratification that design gives–a continuous orgasm.”

Crouwel: “Design and fashion are big enemies.”

Vignelli (referring to people that do things differently or have different points of view): “At the end of the day there is time for everybody….The one thing that unifies the good guys is their sense of responsibility.”

Vignelli (on style): “The answer is in the problem, not in a magazine, not in another designer’s work. If you keep digging you’ll find the answer in the question. Every designer digs with their own tools and so the outcome is always their own interpretation. There is no reality, only one’s perception of reality.”

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