As far as context, there can be no denying the wisdom of his words. I can just imagine him having an epiphany for each of the points he makes. I’m not sure how much of it is original material, and how much is something he learned in school – like the ratios of different sized text, and indeed, most of the “tangibles” – but its clear he understood design on a fundamental level. One thing that I wish he had expanded on was the logo of a company.
Vignelli talks about using a timeless logo and updating it instead of dropping it, but he doesn’t talk about when it’s okay to drop it. He hints at this when he says
There was no reason to dispose of logos that had seventy years of exposure, and were rooted in people’s consciousness with a set of respectable connotations.M. Vignelli
By including “respectable connotations,” he hints that it may be appropriate to totally change the logo if a company does something bad – unless I guess you’re BP, Shell, or Exxon. Zing. But my question for Vignelli would be…I don’t know how to phrase it so I’m just going to push through. In today’s market (in the US anyways), people my age don’t have the brand loyalty their parents had (source).
So my conclusion is that a timeless brand doesn’t have as much weight as it once did, and I’d want to know when was the time to rebrand just to once again be new.
I’d also like to point out that he capitalizes Design when he’s speaking about it as a discipline, which I think isn’t a grammatical error, but a deliberate part of the design of his book.
I have categorized this as Thoughts/Ideas as instructed, but that’s not a category I’m using. I use Reflections instead because I think a / in my menu would throw off the look. (Design!)