Best of Design:Vignelli Corporate Identity

By Vignelli Center for Design Studies

Explore the work of designers Lella and Massimo Vignelli through their own words, from modern furniture company Knoll International in 1966  to Chilean holdings group Corpgroup in 2006

Furniture Price List 1970 Furniture Price List 1970 (1970) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"A corporate identity program's main objective is the coordination of all visual aspects related to a company in order to present a strongly identifiable image and position in the economic and social world in which they function."

Xerox Corporate Identity Xerox Corporate Identity (1989) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"This involves the articulation of a company's culture, which will generate and determine the quality of everything from products to packaging, printed communication to point of sale display."

Knoll Portrait of a Corporation exhibition invitation Knoll Portrait of a Corporation exhibition invitation (1972) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

Knoll International 1966-1980

"Starting in 1966 and for many years thereafter, we designed the printed matter for Knoll International, the outstanding furniture company."

Knoll International France Tarif Tissus (1969) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"The catalogue, price lists, and brochures set a new standard for the furniture industry worldwide, and projected the image of design awareness that the company desired."

The Albinson Chair The Albinson Chair (1970) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"The consistently high-quality level of photography, copy, and printing set a precedent that has been rarely matched by other firms."

Knoll Au Louvre Knoll Au Louvre (1972) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"Designing for Knoll was a most exciting and rewarding experience for us all because of their total design commitment."

A New Wave of Austrian Architecture (1980) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (IAUS), 1976

"A variety of publications—from books to magazines, tabloids to posters—gave the Institute a worldwide visual recognition that became very much a part of its life. The Institute’s posters had a thick black band followed by rows of information bands in red."

Oppositions issue 17 (1979) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"The liveliness of the Institute’s programs, exhibitions, and lectures prompted these strong, structured, black and red graphics that evoke revolutionary Constructivist memories."

Spoken into the Void: Collected Essays 1897-1900 by Adolf Loos (1982) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

“Oppositions” had a red cover, the books a deep yellow, and “Skyline” strong blacks. The type used throughout was Century Expanded."

Educational Programs 1984-1985 (1984) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"Working with architect Peter Eisenman, the Institute’s founder, was one of the most provocative challenges. Julia Bloomfield coordinated much of this work with care and determination. Even now, the IAUS program is one of our favorites."

Kroin folder (1981/1985) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

Kroin, 1981-1985

"Previously called “Architectural Implements,” the first thing we did was to rename the firm after its owner’s great-sounding name: Kroin. The second thing was to dip the company in a string chromotype—yellow—which helped identify it. Thirdly, we articulate the new name, the new color, and their needs."

Kroin Sanitary Fittings Bath Faucets Kroin Sanitary Fittings Bath Faucets (1981/1985) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"We designed product sheets that could be folded as mailers, depliants (brochures), or catalogue sheets. The photographs were styled to give life to faucets, sinks, and chairs."

Kroin "May all your Christmases be yellow" Kroin "May all your Christmases be yellow" (1981/1985) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"The yellowness of Kroin quickly became a strong identifier for the company and their lines of products, It had been applied everywhere from literature to advertising, and from office interiors to showrooms."

IDCNY 26: News from the International Design Center IDCNY 26: News from the International Design Center (1987) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

IDCNY, 1983-1989

"IDCNY is the International Design Center of New York, an international furniture merchandise mart in Long Island City, New York. The logo portrays elegance and strength through the choice of two contrasting typefaces."

IDCNY Graphics IDCNY Graphics (1983/1985) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"The program includes, graphics, invitations, publications, advertising, and signage. Most of the pieces are designed by Michael Bierut and coordinated by Fern Mallis."

IDCNY Designed for business. (1986) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"Based on three very basic elements - Bodoni type with black and red colors - the program is nevertheless extremely articulated and vibrant, and has achieved a very strong identity quite often imitated by similar organizations."

Benetton Corporate Identity Manual / Mannuale di Identificazione Coordinata Benetton Corporate Identity Manual / Mannuale di Identificazione Coordinata (1996) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

Benetton, 1996

"In 1995 we were asked to design a new Corporate Identity for Benetton and related Companies of the Group."

Benetton Unisex Jacket Price Tag Benetton Unisex Jacket Price Tag by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"We retained the existing logo, but restructured it, to give more tension to its details. Since we believe in certain equities, we retained the color green as the Company chromotype."

Benetton sketches by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"The program has been applied worldwide since 1996."

Sisley Corporate Identity Manual / Mannale di Immagine Coordinata Sisley Corporate Identity Manual / Mannale di Immagine Coordinata (1996) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

SISLEY, 1996

"At about the same time of the Benetton projects, we were asked to design a new Corporate Identity for SISLEY, a Company that is part of the same Group."

Sisley Corporate Identity Manual sketches Sisley Corporate Identity Manual sketches (1996) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"To differentiate from Benetton’s colorful image, we chose black as the Company chromotype, and we designed a logo accordingly."

Zimmer + Rohde by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

Zimmer + Rhode GmbH, 1998
"For this Company producing textiles for upholstery and drapery for more than hundred years, we choose a classical and elegant typeface but given a stronger look with the heavy bar over it."

Zimmer + Rohde by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"To contrast all colors of their product, we choose black as the company chromotype and used it throughout the graphic program from textiles sample holders, to packaging and promotional materials."

BK Italia Catalago 2007 (2007) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

BK, 2005

"For this Italian manufacturer of transformable sofas, we designed all the graphic identity, the promotional literature, some of the products and all the trade shows stands."

BK Italia Sofa-beds BK Italia Sofa-beds (2007) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"This allowed them to have an organic Company image and a level of continuity, rarely achieved in other projects. This overall direction was done in collaboration with Architect Dante Bellini."

CorpGroup stationery (2007) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

Corpgroup, 2006

"CorpGroup is a holding company with three branches: CorpBanca, CorpVida, CorpArtes."

CorpBanca "Estado de Cuenta Corriente" form CorpBanca "Estado de Cuenta Corriente" form (2007) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"The first one of the most important Chilean Banks, the second an Insurance Company, and the third a Cultural Center."

CorpArtes Stationery (2007) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"We designed the logo representing the three operational areas with a different color for each one of them and used that color as a basic identifier for all printed matter related to them."

CorpVida mundovida 33 (2008) by Vignelli, MassimoVignelli Center for Design Studies

"The use of the same symbol acorss the areas has increased the overall exposure of the brand."

Credits: Story

Thank you to Massimo and Lella Vignelli for having the vision to preserve such a rich and complete archive of your design and for giving it to the world for inspiration.


The quoted text and artifacts featured here are part of the "Design: Vignelli" exhibition on view at the Vignelli Center for Design Studies. The exhibition was designed, written, and curated by Lella and Massimo Vignelli. It is the last of their exhibition designs still open to the public.


This virtual exhibition was created by Jennifer Whitlock, Archivist at the Vignelli Center for Design Studies. Over the course of three years, she digitized nearly every artifact, wrote metadata descriptions, and curated this exhibition.


And to the student Archives Assistants at the Vignelli Center for Design Studies who helped with photographing the galleries, gathering artifacts, transcribing the gallery text, scanning, and moral support. Thank you, Alexandra Serpikov, Emily Sharp, Claire Popoli, Leah Green, and Carmen Lopez.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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