East Village Entertainment

Design is One

Design is One: Leila & Massimo Vignelli


“If you can’t find it, design it” is the motto of Lella and Massimo Vignelli, whose renowned work ranges ”from the spoon to the city.” 

Italian-born Lella and Massimo Vignelli are among the world’s most influential designers. Their achievements in industrial and product design, graphic and publication design, corporate identity programs, architectural graphics, and exhibition, interior, and furniture design have earned worldwide respect and numerous national and international awards for over 40 years, and they are considered among the world’s most important designers. Through their product, environmental, and graphic design brilliance they have defined contemporary design in an elegant and transformative way and have set a consistent standard for excellence that is inspirational.

In 1965 Massimo brought the Helvetica typeface to the US. Notable projects include: New York’s subway signage and maps; the interior of Saint Peter’s Church at Citicorp Center; Venini lamps; Heller dinnerware; furniture for Poltrona Frau; and identity programs for Knoll International, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, and American Airlines.

Leaders on the frontline of the design profession, the Vignellis continue to be mentors to other designers. Their archive is housed in a new building – The Vignelli Center for Design Studies – at the Rochester Institute of Technology, which will enable future generations to appreciate the Vignellis’ contributions.

Many from the world of design – from architects Richard Meier and Peter Eisenman to graphic designers Milton Glaser, Michael Beirut, and Jessica Helfand, among others -- speak about the Vignellis’ work and tell us anecdotes. The film brings us into the work and everyday moments of the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity, warmth, and humor. More about the film here.

How to see Design is One near you.


“In New York City, at almost every turn we’re graced with the indelibly crisp, iconic imagery of Italian-born design duo Lella and Massimo Vignelli. Their influence is everywhere, and yet their focus has always been on the work rather than themselves. Filmmakers Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra, another collaborating couple, set out to change that. Their enthralling documentary goes beyond the duo’s epic portfolio to reveal the intimate dynamic of their long-lived partnership.” -Michelle Memran, VANITY FAIR

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Directors/Producers: Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra
2012, USA, 90 min, in English

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