Posted in Publication, Theory

Massimo Vignelli Makes Books


The excellent film on Massimo Vignelli’s approach to book design by Pentagram for Mohawk, just had to feature on Typetoken — Enjoy!


“The grid is an integral part of book design. It’s not something that you see. It’s just like underwear: you wear it, but it’s not to be exposed. The grid is the underwear of the book.” — Massimo Vignelli

Vignelli’s approach to book design is the subject of a new video created by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Aron Fay for “What Will You Make Today?” campaign from Mohawk. In the video, Vignelli discusses his use of the grid as the basis for the layout of a book’s pages, using one of his classic book designs for the architect Richard Meier as an example. Working with an audio interview edited by Hilary Frank, Bierut and Fay animated Vignelli’s sketches for the clip, taking them from skeletal grid to finished publication.

Bierut knew Vignelli’s painstaking step-by-step process well. “Because I worked with Massimo for ten years before joining Pentagram, I was very familiar with his unique way of designing books. He sits with all the ingredients—text and images—and draws each page with a pencil, including every photograph, using a grid as a layout guide,” he says.

The video is accompanied by a small limited edition journal that reproduces Vignelli’s grid from the film. The journal is available from Mohawk’s website, while supplies last.

Vimeo Link


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