When Massimo Vinelli came out with Vignelli Canon, it was a game changer in the Graphic Design industry. Many of the topics discussed in this great novel have been implemented in the thought process of many artists in today’s world. The book is short, simple, and to the point. While I can talk about many things in this book, I’ve decided to pick a few topics that I believe make this book so special.
In this book, Vinelli says that the there are three things in design that are very important. These three things are Semantics, Syntactics, and Pragmatics. Semantics he says, is the search of the meaning of whatever we have to design. During his search for a new design, he does extensive research. This includes searching for more information about the company, the product, competitors of the product, and the real meaning of the subject. In this part of the book he also states that semantics is what will provide the true meaning of a project, as it provides the project its foundation.
Syntactics are used to represent the discipline that is the picture’s meaning. For example, the syntactics used in Graphic Design, include the overall structure, the grid, the typefaces, the text and headlines. He says that achieving Syntactic consistency is important. He states this is achieved by relative sizes, relationship between grids and images from the page to page, etc. He then states that Grids are one of the many tools that helps designers achieve syntactical consistency in graphic design.
Vinelli then talks about how Pragmatics are very important because its role is important in pictures as they display the understanding of the design. He also claims that the Clarity of intent translating into the clarity of result is important. He makes the point that complicated and confusing designs reveal the complications and confusions the creator was suffering during the time of the design. He also states that artists try to make their work go deeper than what is going on in current times. He claims that is important because art needs to be timeless. He feels that there is a need for creators of any art work, to live by this guideline as it makes them a better artist.
A couple of important parts of the tangibles were the color and sequence.
Vinelli says that the primary colors are Red, Blue, and Yellow. He believes that every work of art has a specific message, and the color in a work of art plays an important role in creating that message. He believes that different colors are used in paintings to describe a certain mood, belief, theme, etc. He also says that while color is important in the creation of projects, there is less wiggle room in terms of an artist being able to fully to articulate their thoughts. He also says that appropriateness is one of the rules that we use in picking the color for our design, as the knowledge of a color’s effectiveness is crucial in creating the perfect picture.
Vinelli says that sequence is important as anything else in someone’s enjoyment of reading. The sequence of images in book, magazine, etc. is crucial as these images are representation of what is being written about. It is also important that these images are held to a high standard so the reader does not lose interest in what they are reading. He says that getting the best sequence is by going with a simple formula for the processing of the layout. This simple layout gives an artist rewarding results especially when it’s not repetitive.
This book really changed how I look at Graphic Designing. I will use the lessons I’ve learned from this reading to make myself better in this area. I would recommend anyone to read this book as it will provide you with important information that you will help you become a more successful artist.