Massimo Vignelli

Massimo Vignelli was an Italian designer who made great contributions to the design field. He moved to New York City to open a branch of his company, Unimark International. His style was that of Modernism and used elements of geometry while retaining simplicity in his designs.

One of his hallmark designs was the redesign of the NYC subway map. This map is still used to today and is the de facto map when navigating the city through the use of the subway system. During the 60’s, the NYC Transit Authority realized that their NYC subway map signage was out of date so they hired Len Ingalls as Director of Public Information and Community Relations in order to find a solution to their problem. Ingalls needed the help Unimark International so he asked designer Vignelli to redesign the subway signage so that it looks up to date and easy to read.

In the early 70’s, the Transit Authority released a new NYC subway map with updated signage designed by Raleigh D’Adamo, although it was poorly received due to its perceived fragmentation. The MTA at the time was the new authority on this matter and assigned the redesign of the map to Unimark International after Vignelli proposed a mockup of lower Manhattan to the MTA. Unimark International then redesigned the map with the design direction of Vignelli and the final NYC subway map was born.

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