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 During the 60’s, the NYC Transit Authority realized that their NYC subway map signage was out of date so they hired Len Ingalls as Director of Public Information and Community Relations in order to find a solution to their problem.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.

The Art of Illustration 1750—1900

IMG_1242Giambattista Piranesi was an Italian artist who lived during the 18th century. He was known for his etchings of Rome and of imaginary prisons. His work influenced Romanticism and Surrealism.

Piranesi mostly worked with etching, a printmaking technique that uses chemical action to produce incised lines in a metal printing plate which then hold the applied ink and form the image. At the time, his pieces were considered very unique as his style had elements that weren’t found in other artists’ work. He created a series of prints called, “Carceri” that featured his most prominent work. These include prison etchings that showed remarkable scenes of labyrinth-like prisons.

He played around with how light is displayed in his work. Light from outside showed how life still went on even as the prison was still functioning. The details in the shadows inside the prison encapsulate the indefinite feelings of despair. The perspective of the prison feels grandiose because he used long lines to capture that feeling of grandeur.

He went on to continue to work in Rome where his etchings were popular as they showed the architectural prowess of the city. His legacy lives on with his etchings still playing a vital role in some artists.

AES Group: New Liberty

AES is a group made up of four Russian born artists: Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky, and Vladimir Fridkes. The artists collaborate on projects with the intent of creating graphical images that send a strong message to the audience. This poster that they created is titled “New Liberty.” The graphic was made in 2006 and is the cover image of project ‘AES: Witnesses to the Future. Islamic Project’ that began in 1996.

The project describes the paranoia that is entrenched in Western society that Islamic culture is taking over Western civilization. There is a fear propagated by the media and among citizens of Western societies that their home countries will lose their unique cultures by increasing Islamization. This fear resulted from the recent influx of Muslim refugees to European and other Western nations. Many worry that if their numbers will continue to grow, their culture will become more prevalent that those of the countries they are immigrating towards.

This poster sends a powerful message that the Statue of Liberty is no longer representing freedom like it once did and that Islamic values represent the new face of liberty.

More of their work can be seen here: