Massimo Vignelli Updates Famous Design Chart for a Digital Age
The legendary graphic designer revisited his canonical survey on design trends and movements, bringing it right up to the present moment.
Much has changed since the original version of this chart first appeared at the Alliance Graphique Internationale in 1985. The advent of the computer has brought about profound changes over the last 20 years, providing a wider spectrum of creative options than ever before. Today, just about anything is possible, so it’s up to the designer to choose what is appropriate. In the past, there were specific trends; now, there is infinite variety. What before was just fantasy can easily become reality, from the sublime to the banal (or worse). In this new climate, the responsibilities of the designer—toward the client, toward the user, toward society at large—have increased manyfold. We have more powerful tools, but must be more disciplined and discerning in how we use them. This technical facility is both an opportunity and a trap. Choosing is easy today, so choose wisely.
We live in an interesting time, a period of profound change brought about by technologies, which are shaping our ways of thinking, communicating, and behaving. It’s a great era for the younger generation, which seems much better equipped than previous ones to tackle the challenges ahead.
Vignelli’s original Schematic Chart of Ideological and Design Changes from the ’60s to the ’80s
Courtesy Henry Wolf Collection