Reflection on The Vignelli Canon

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this booklet, The Vignelli Canon. It presented great insight and thoughtful information to consider as we enter into this week of Graphic Design. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed reading this book so much, and I feel as though I have a new-found passion for Graphic Design. It was so interesting to me, and I feel that from this point forward I will notice many of the elements pointed out by Massimo Vignelli.

Vignelli’s main purpose in producing this pamphlet was to introduce his audience to the basic elements of graphic design. So many people nowadays do not know of the many details involved in creating Design. He listed many including both the tangible and intangible aspects of Design. Some of the most interesting ones he brought up were Semantics, Syntactics and Pragmatics. I found these to be particularly intriguing because I am an English major and connected them to much of how Literature is created and produced. Like a written text, Design must have meaning as well as a cohesive structure and understanding by the audience. Without these things, Vignelli argues for the overall purpose of the piece. Vignelli also discusses the various elements within graphic design from typography to texture or color. I think these will all be important elements to keep in mind as we create our own Design Assignments this week for class. One last point I would like to highlight from the booklet is Vignelli’s approach to ambiguity. Like before, ambiguity in literature represents when something has several meanings, not just vagueness or apathy. Graphic Designs hold a plurality of meanings given context, personal experience and execution. I believe this is an important point to remember for the remainder of the semester as we approach the rest of our assignments. We are creating Designs meant to have meaning, yet those meanings will differ greatly amongst all of us. This is such a powerful human tendency that we need to take advantage of!

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