Book List of the Week

Knowledge in Support of Creativity: Massimo Vignelli’s Book List

By Steve Kroeter February 8, 2011

In the introduction to his book The Vignelli Canon, graphic designer Massimo Vignelli writes: “Creativity needs the support of knowledge to be able to perform at its best.”

You can see this passion for knowledge in the book list Mr. Vignelli has submitted to Designers & Books. “Thousands of books have enriched my life” is the way he begins the introduction to his list. He continues, “So it is almost impossible for me to single out a few without feeling that I am omitting so many others that have shaped my mind.”

Even with this heartfelt caveat, the breadth and depth of his list opens a window onto the three or four (or more?) dimensions of his mind. Italian, German, Russian, French, and American fiction. Literary criticism. Music history. Architectural and urban history. A typography classic. Biography. Russian drama. Italian art history. And finally—how could it end otherwise? War and Peace.

While he may, understandably, have ended up “omitting so many,” this list gives us an inspiring opportunity to consider a collection of books that, as he says in the last sentence of his introduction, “have a particularly important place in my memory.”

Steve Kroeter
Editor in Chief

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