the one and only massimo

yes, i interviewed with massimo but was not offered a job. actually, this card comes from the third time i met mr. vignelli. the first time i visited the office of vignelli associates, i interviewed with michael bierut. i remember it and still have his card, too, but that is another story. the other card is from simon johnston, from his 8vo days. again, another story for another post. i include it only for size comparison, since simon’s card is a standard 2″ x 3.5″. this card was presented to me while i was the art director at bergdorf goodman. it was decided that the seventh floor home section of the store needed a designer to overhaul the specialty food packaging, so a list was drawn up and massimo’s name was placed on it, along with a few other notable names. i was surprised to see his name. the date was  early 1992. the seventh floor of bergdorf’s had a marvelous reputation for outstanding one- of-a-kind items. it was run by an amazing woman and i was thrilled when i heard they wanted to revamp the packaging. i learned one of the buyers had suggested massimo for the project. a day was set aside  for the various designers to make presentations. as the in-house designer i was not asked about designing the program or even consulted, although two years before i had designed the identity and packaging for the new men’s store. i sat through the presentations—some good, others surprisingly embarrassing. thank goodness slide projectors are a thing of the past. mr. vignelli arrived, sat down and said, ‘what do you have for me?’ well, the store president sat there blank and unmoved. the buyers explained the problem and massimo spoke eloquently, not just about the need for unique packaging but about lighting, display and shelf presence. i knew he was expanding the problem beyond the immediate needs and losing the president. what made this meeting memorable was not massimo but one of the bergdorf’s buyers, who, after sitting through the previous presentations of slides and specific samples of the work, asked to see massimo’s work. she had no idea of the volume of his work nor his reputation. my colleague quickly snapped, ‘visit the moma!’ i’ll never forget it. i smiled, massimo smiled and the meeting ended. thank yous all around and business cards were exchanged. i’m pretty sure he doesn’t have my card but i am thrilled to have his.


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  1. I love how Massimo’s design cuts through the various stylistic ticks and trends of the decades, except for missing an email and/or website address this could have been produced yesterday or fifty years ago and still be beautifully appropriate and contemporary. Your card is pretty stylish as well JP, at least if it’s the same one you gave me three or so years ago :)

    Comment by Chris Bowden — 24/01/2012 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

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