During his long career Massimo Vignelli has dealt with various branches of design; his production ranges from graphic design to product to exhibition design. Since the 1960s he has been one of the main architects of the renewal of international graphics, mainly through the diffusion of the modernist methodology with Unimark International.

He studied architecture at the Milan Polytechnic and at the IUAV University of Venice; he begins to deal with the graphic design of newspapers, books and packaging, moving away from architecture to get closer and closer to design. At the end of 1964 he moved permanently to the United States; in this period he begins to take shape the idea of an international studio, an idea that will become a reality under the name of Unimark International. He leads the implementation of several projects, including visual identity projects for American Airlines, Ford and the famous signage for the New York City subway.

Vignelli left Unimark and in 1971, together with his wife Lella, founded Vignelli Associates in New York. Since then Vignelli has worked on a large number of projects for important American (Knoll and IBM) and European (Benetton, Ducati, Poltrona Frau, Artemide) industries. He was president of AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale), president of AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Art), vice president of the Architectural League of New York, member of IDSA (Industrial Designers Society of America).