The Vignellis


“If you can’t find it, design it” is the motto of the Vignellis, whose renowned work ranges ”from the spoon to the city.” Kathy Brew & Roberto Guerra’s film brings us into the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity, warmth, and humor.

Italian-born Lella and Massimo Vignelli are among the world’s most influential designers. The work covers such a broad spectrum that one could say the Vignellis are known by everybody, even those who don’t know their names.Throughout their career, their motto has been, “If you can’t find it, design it.” Their achievements in industrial 
and product design, graphic and publication design, corporate identity programs, architectural graphics, 
and exhibition, interior, and furniture design have earned worldwide respect and numerous national 
and international awards for over 40 years.
Hankerchief Chairs

American Airlines

In 1965 Massimo brought the Helvetica typeface to the US. Notable projects include: New York’s subway signage and maps; the interior of Saint Peter’s Church at Citicorp Center; Venini lamps; Heller dinnerware; furniture for Poltrona Frau; and identity programs for Knoll International, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, and American Airlines.

The Vignellis continue to be mentors to other designers. Their archive is housed in a new building at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Many from the world of design – from architects Richard Meier and Peter Eisenman to graphic designers Milton Glaser, Michael Bierut, and Jessica Helfand, among others -- speak about the Vignellis’ work and tell us anecdotes. The film brings us into the work and everyday moments of the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity, warmth, and humor.

nyc subway signage

Sample Pager



The DVD includes 11 Bonus Shorts, including: Diffuser of Helvetica, Lella’s Jewelry Numbers, Massimo’s Mentor, The Girl with the Graphic Tattoo, From the Canon.


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DESIGN IS ONE is also available on DVD to educational institutions and businesses. more info »

Digital streaming licenses are also available. more info »



Kathy Brew: The Design Is One co-director talks behind-the-scenes with the Vignellis

“For us, the highest compliment is hearing someone say, ‘I feel like I met them,’ because that means we captured who they are.” —Kathy Brew

On Netflix Now: Three Films About Design –

Design is One: Lella e Massimo Vignelli film –

Wake Up! Massimo Vignelli helped us see our world in new ways –

DESIGN IS ONE is cited as # 3 of one of “22 Movies Every Designer Should Watch on Netflix” in this article. Very pleased for this recognition of our film and the importance of the Vignellis. –

Designer Insights with Kathy Brew –

Two Documentaries That Must Be Seen –

Design is One (Brew and Guerra, 2012) –

Design’s Power Couple –

Peruvian Doc Showcase Salutes a Master –

Design Is One Interview on WNBC –

Linear Genius, Bold and Transformative –

Learn About the Designers Behind New York City’s Iconic Subway-System Signage –

More press info is available in the PRESS section.

(Poster by Massimo Vignelli )
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We mourn the loss of two great men. more »



An annual prize given to a documentary filmmaker from a Latin American country based in New York.
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