This is just brilliant! From a recent interview with Vignelli, in Eye magazine (print edition), I’ve re-typed this segment below. IMHO this is of vital importance, and a valuable reminder, to deliver design excellence and stay true to design values of “Craftsmanship” and “Delivering Unique Value”, etc.
“Quality, like Modernism, is an attitude, which means that one does not go below a certain standard. Quality is a way of living, a life attitude and a constant fight to eliminate any hint of vulgarity from one’s mind. This is a constant job of enormous proportions because the bombardment that we continuously have, the amount of seduction that we receive from life, makes this fight against crudeness a very heavy job.
Quality is when you know that you have reached a high level in your work, when it really sings, when it touches you, when it responds. Quality is a level of intellectual elegance that is unmatched in other forms. When you see that there is no more vulgarity in it, you’ve got the sense of quality. So quality is something that you can achieve by continuously refining your mind through exposure to things which are the best manifestation of people that came before you, or are around you. That is what you obtain by nourishing yourself away from anything which has vulgarity in it. Quality is when you solve all of the problems that you have to solve in a way that is beyond the expected. So it is the sum of many things, and the answer to many searches. Quality is a by-product of passion, curiosity, intensity, and professionalism.”
— Massimo Vignelli, legendary designer of graphics, products, information systems
(American Airlines, Bloomingdales, JC Penney, Knoll identities, and the original NYC Subway diagram)