The Vignelli Canon

This article by Vignelli was a useful introduction to understanding typography in Graphic Design. His three aspects in Design – Semantic, Syntactic, and Pragmatic I think can be usefully applied in typography and in many other arts and subjects. Semantics is useful for finding a purpose for the projects you work on, syntax is important for discipline and control in a piece of art, and pragmatic is the communication of it – the clarity. I find all three of these pieces are essential for typography.

Vignelli’s article seems to be very practical and realistic. He brings up appropriateness in the piece, I find that to be an interesting point but it makes sense. Appropriateness is important to understanding the root of the problem so that you can find of the solutions to it. If you do not find the appropriate reason for graphic design, you will not find the solution you’re looking for.

Ambiguity is an important part of graphic design. When I think of art in general, I immediately start to think of ambiguity because one of the fun and important parts of art is it’s interpretation. Graphic Design is an art, it should have multiple meanings that can be interpreted in many ways.

Graphic design can be greatly affected by it’s visual power. Many people can’t stand weak concepts, forms, colors, or texture. So, having strong visual power gives off a powerful expression which is essential to achieve its purpose.

The part about paper sizes was very interesting to me. I did not know that there were two different paper size systems in the world: The international A sizes and the American sizes. It seems that the A sizes do make much better sense than the American sizes and the cause of the United States paper sizes having such diversity is the result of the culture of free enterprise, competition, and waste. I found the Grids also useful to know, I soon realized that it was very important because it contributes to such a great organization on the page – that organization on the page helps with the communication of it.

Type size relationship is an important part of communicating in Graphic Design. Creating a much larger or increase in the front size relationship could achieve the affect a designer is looking for. It also highlights type size consistency which is economical and looks better. When you contrast the type sizes it can help make the titles stand out more, also a good communication technique. Color also helps certain titles, emblems, and logos stand out. Vignelli highlights that they mainly use primary colors: Red, Blue, and Yellow, which are signifiers and identifiers.

Overall, this article seemed to bring up the importance of discipline. It makes me question whether discipline in graphic design is still important in today’s graphic design culture. A lot of this article seemed out of date, especially since the digital age has moved away from paper and books.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *