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Posts Tagged ‘Massimo Vignelli’

Debbie Millman’s Party Packs the House

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As we lamented that we couldn’t be there to toast Debbie Millman‘s book release (and revealed we were drinking ourselves to sleep instead) one faithful UnBeige reader had the presence of mind to document the evening. Jonathan Selikoff got three shots, including one of Millman basking in Massimo Vignelli‘s charm above (those Vignellis sure do get out a lot). He also tells us that just as Simon Williams gave a nice, rambling toast on behalf of Millman, there was a chant of “Debbie! Debbie! Debbie!”

Also spotted by our informants: Paul Sahre, James Victore, Felix Sockwell, Rodrigo Corral (who designed her book’s cover), Khoi Vinh, Scott Stowell and Emily Oberman, plus a report that in the elevator on the way down, a woman said that if a bomb had gone off in the room, the NY design scene would cease to exist. Sounds like our kind of party.

More pics…

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More Crouwel/Vignelli For Your Monday

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Just as we thought we had last week’s AIGA NY Wim CrouwelMassimo Vignelli event all covered, turns out even more wit and wisdom has emerged. Michael Brenner over at DESIGNY has a wrap up of the evening, including images of some of the work discussed (very nice investigative work).

AIGA NY also put together these awesome Proust Questionnaires which Crouwel and Vignelli both answered, and in which we learn that they both have some serious architect-worship. Crouwel names Norman Foster as one of his real-life heroes; Vignelli names Mies van der Rohe. And if given a chance to do it again, they would both come back as architects. Hey, it’s not too late, guys.

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.”

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Michael Bierut Roasted; We’ve Got the Charred Bits

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Why we are not invited to such things, we do not know. But when we hear things like “Michael Bierut is being roasted at an exclusive benefit held at the Architectural League,” we think, well, good thing we have the spies. Well-dressed spies, who drink far too much and only remember the good parts. Spies who supply us with choice information like this about our favorite 50-year-old.

Kurt Andersen served as emcee/host/moderator and Massimo Vignelli said Bierut was the best designer he’s ever employed.

Jim Biber and Bierut were sitting in the exit row of a flight about to take off from La Guardia when they had to evacuate the plane on the runway. Back in the airport reeling from their emergency efforts, Bierut looked at his watch and said, “I think we could still make the 12:10 flight.” They did, and made it to Seattle where they nailed a job. Paula Scher, however, just had to recount the one job Bierut didn’t get.

Steven Heller read a mock obituary that had the crowd roaring. Writer Suzanne Stephens performed what was described to us as a “burlesque dance.” And Dorothy Bierut told a story about her fine husband strolling out of the gym…without his pants.

And the photo above? We don’t know what he’s doing there. But we honestly can’t tell if he has pants on there, either.

Helvetica? Sold Out.

sm.nyc12.jpg Note to Windy City graphic designers: this is your last day this year to see Helvetica, a documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of this famous font. This writer’s friend bought tickets to tonight’s 8 p.m. show last night, only because the previous show was sold out. It’s hard to say whether there are any tickets at all left at this point, which is no surprise given the last time this charming documentary played at the Gene Siskel Center. If you can still manage to get in, here’s a synopsis: helvetica was invented by a Swiss designer in 1957, half a century later this typeface is everywhere on signs, advertisements, magazines, labels, film titles, and e-mail. Director Gary Hustwit turns the camera on the worldwide design community for their take on why you can’t get away from Helvetica virtually anywhere on this planet. Hear graphic designers include Massimo Vignelli, Matthew Carter, Eric Spiekermann, Wim Crouwel, and others speak if you can manage to squeeze into tonight’s screening. If not, you just might have to see this home video. Sorry!

50 Very Short Essays on Michael Bierut

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There once was a designer so beloved that on the occasion of his 50th birthday, people from far and wide wanted to wish him well. So well, in fact, that the kingdom of Pentagram–housed in a castle in the biggest city in all the land–sent word to all their friends, all over the world, that they wanted to write a book dedicated to the fair designer. And it was a grand book, a book filled with 50 stories by people like the Valiant Knight Frank Gehry and Sir Massimo Vignelli and Lady Maira Kalman. And because the designer was so beloved, and because his friends were so kind, the book even included pictures. Like this:

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Happy Belated Birthday to the King of Design.

Steven Heller, Graphic Design’s Biggest Fan, to be Honored In SVA Exhibition

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The world’s most prolific design writer, recently-named Design Observer, and subject of much obsession here on the old UnBeige, Steven Heller will be honored with SVA’s Masters Series Award, including an exhibition and catalog of his work that sounds like quite the spectacle:

Curated and designed by Kevin O’Callaghan, chair of 3D Design at SVA, the exhibition highlights the inspiration and collaboration behind Heller’s many achievements as a writer and art director. On view will be over 100 covers of The New York Times Book Review that Heller art directed and a visual anthology of his major publications, with select volumes available to peruse…Nearby, visitors will be able to browse Heller’s many contributions to American and foreign periodicals at a full-scale replica of a New York City newsstand. The centerpiece of the multimedia display will be a larger-than-life photo montage of Heller’s library with recorded commentary about his collection of design ephemera and its role in his research and writing. In a series of video podcasts specially commissioned for the exhibition, Heller will discuss design in the context of popular culture, politics and history.

Whew! Heller joins SVA’s long list of luminaries that includes people named things like Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, George Lois, Paul Rand, Massimo Vignelli, and Paula Scher, who coined the phrase we want made into t-shirts: “Steven Heller has been graphic design’s biggest fan.”

Helvetica World Premiere

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We just barely snagged a seat in an extremely tightly-kerned crowd at the world premiere of Helvetica here at SXSW, where the entire audience sported buttons reading “I love/hate Helvetica.” Okay, okay, everybody has been making their little jokes about “the movie about a font.” But guess what–this is not really a movie about a typeface. Helvetica is just a character in this wonderfully-made film, which just might be the best history of graphic design we’ve ever seen.

Director Gary Hustwit‘s film will lead even the most design clueless through an intelligent global survey of design. But designers won’t be bored. It’s not a simplified primer; instead, it’s the soul of graphic design–straight from the source. Massimo Vignelli preaching that there are only really, three typefaces (we thought it was five; he must be getting pickier). Sagmeister saying clean type is boring. Paula Scher explaining illustrative type. Rick Poynor explaining Modernism. David Carson epitomizing grunge type. Experimental Jetset bringing it all back around.

The story of graphic design is meant for the big screen. With the exception of a few conferences and maybe the work of someone like Hillman Curtis, we just don’t get to see ourselves like this. And damn do we look good.

Especially Erik Spiekermann, and an adorable Michael Bierut, who are the real stars of this film. Bierut delivers the best monologue in the whole movie–an awesome treatise on corporate design that got the biggest laughs and a hearty round of applause.

True to subject, the film itself is simple and beautiful. There are some lovely animations of Swiss designs and cool shots of how type gets made. And there’s an exuberant quality about the whole thing–a lingering shot on a corner of a poster, the spare but expressive music, and the stunning, overwhelming ubiquitousness of this typeface that means nothing and everything, all at the same time. The film festival guy who introduced the film said this, and got a laugh from the audience, but by the end of the film it was apparent: Designer or not, you will never, ever see the world the same again.