Skip to main content directly

Remembering Massimo Vignelli


Massimo Vignelli Portrait

Today, Knoll is remembering Massimo Vignelli (1931 - 2014), whose Modernist vision and graphic work for Knoll continues to inspire Knoll associates, our clients and the design community worldwide. Massimo Vignelli died on May 27, 2014.

Massimo studied architecture before founding the Vignelli Office of Design and Architecture in 1960 with his wife, Lella. The pair established Vignelli Associates in 1971, a vehicle for focusing on projects that incorporated their industrial, furniture and graphic design talents.

In 1967, Bobby Cadwallader retained Massimo Vignelli to create a new graphics program for Knoll. The resulting designs, based largely on a grid, provided the foundation for all basic communication needs, including stationery, business cards, stickers, tags, boxes, brochures and four-color ads for trade magazines and publications like The New Yorker, Vogue and Fortune.

Massimo Vignelli once described the Knoll assignment as "the most exciting, rewarding" of his professional career. Perhaps the greatest measure of the program’s success is the extent to which it continues to inform the company's public identity to this day.

As recognizable and successful as the work of his predecessor, Herbert Matter, Vignelli’s advertisements, pricelists and branding efforts gave Knoll an international graphic identity that became the industry standard.

Additionally, Vignelli Associates contributed two furniture designs to the Knoll portfolio: the Handkerchief chair (designed together with David Law) and the Paperclip table.

Knoll at Le Louve by Massimo Vignelli

Knoll au Louvre poster design (4 panels) featuring Massimo Vignelli's signature Knoll logo, 1972.

Herbert Matter and Massimo Vignelli

Herbert Matter and Massimo Vignelli, 1981.

Knoll Identity by Massimo Vignelli

Brand poster by Massimo Vignelli, ca. 1970.