W.D. Minihan

Catch me in the NARRATIVE, jackin’ your MECHANISMS

“The Vignelli Canon” by Massimo Vignelli was a breath of fresh air for me. Allow me to present my perspective: a person who is very interested in design and is trying to learn about it without a full, formal instruction. Whenever I try to learn about essentials of design I’m always given identifiers of elements with no information on what makes a design actually good. Everyone just says, “do whatever, its all preference.” Vignelli offers the instructional starting place that I have been looking for. While this booklet obviously isn’t comprehensive, and slightly outdated depending on your realm of interest, it makes the case for fundamentals of good visual design. I appreciate his stresses on effective communication and economic efficiency. One block that always crosses my mind in the creative world is whether or not something needs to exist. Wastefulness and disposable luxury seem to be the ugly side-effects of unhinged expression, and I feel like this booklet provides a framework to start with scrutinizing these issues.

I think that I have a criticism on one thing: his notes on color. He claims that primary colors are usually the most effective for communication. While this may be true in the most purely practical environments (e.g. industrialization) I can’t help but feel that the internet has saturated the meaning of primary colors to some degree. Excessive stimulation from things like UI can water down symbolic associations in a way that I don’t think he could really account for. My thoughts here are obviously not nearly as developed as his, but I’m just airing them out.