A rare breed, Massimo Vignelli boasted talents in a range of design disciplines. With his wife Lella, they were first acknowledged for their work in graphics and exhibition design, and the husband and wife partnership came to receive recognition for interiors and furniture design on a worldwide scope. Among the honors listed on the Vignellis' curricula vitae are: the Gran Premio Triennale di Milano, 1964; the Compasso d'Oro, ADI, 1964; the 1973 Industrial Arts Medal of the American Institute of Architects; honorary doctorates from Parsons School of Design, American Institute of Graphic Arts, and the first Presidential Design Award, presented in 1985 for the National Park Service Publications Program.
The Vignellis' work has been the subject of two feature-length television programs that were televised worldwide. A monograph exhibition of their work toured Europe between 1989 and 1993 and was featured in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Helsinki, London, Budapest, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Munich, Prague and Paris.
Massimo Vignelli, born in Milan, studied architecture in Milan and Venice. His work was published and exhibited throughout the world and entered in the permanent collections of several museums, notably, The Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Brooklyn Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Montreal and the Die Neue Sammlung in Munich. Vignelli lectured and taught design in the United States and abroad. In 1994, he taught a summer course at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He was a president of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and a vice president of The Architectural League.
Among Massimo Vignelli's awards: Gran Premio Triennale di Milano, 1964; Compasso d'Oro, the Italian Association for Industrial Design (ADI), 1964 and 1998; the 1973 Industrial Arts Medal of the American Institute of Architects (AIA); the 1982 Art Directors Club Hall of Fame; the 1983 AIGA Gold Medal; the first Presidential Design Award, presented by President Ronald Reagan in 1985, for the National Parks Service Publications Program; the 1991 National Arts Club Gold Medal for Design, the 1992 Interior Product Designers Fellowship of Excellence; the 1995 Brooklyn Museum Design Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 2001 Russel Wright Award for Design Excellence. Vignelli was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Architecture from the University of Venice and Honorary Doctorates in Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, Rhode Island School of Design, the Corcoran School of Art and the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA. In 1996, he received the Honorary Royal Designer for Industry Award from the Rome Society of Arts, London.