Watkins College of Art, Design & Film will host a reception for “The Vignelli Canon,” an exhibit celebrating the words of legendary designer Massimo Vignelli through posters designed by Watkins Graphic Design students and produced at Hatch Show Print, on Thursday, August 21, from 5 to 7 pm.
The show, which runs through August 29 in the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery on campus, is the result of a continuing collaboration between Watkins and Hatch Show Print, one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America.
In a one-day summer workshop, Watkins students were challenged to use Hatch’s landmark collection of typefaces, along with traditional letterpress methods, to create posters that expressed the ethos of influential Italian-born designer Massimo Vignelli.
Vignelli, who died on May 27, 2014 at the age of 83, worked firmly within the Modernist tradition. His prolific body of work ranged from packaging (Bloomingdale’s Brown Bags) and identity (American Airlines, IBM) through houseware and furniture design to public signage, logos and publication design (New York City’s subway system, National Park Service).
In 2009 he released “The Vignelli Canon” a free e-book (available via vignelli.com). In the introduction he wrote, “I thought that it might be useful to pass some of my professional knowledge around, with the hope of improving [young designers'] design skills. Creativity needs the support of knowledge to be able to perform at its best.”
The Watkins students, using a variety of wooden type and wooden image blocks from Hatch’s extensive collection—including one rarely-used alphabet of a decidedly Modern style—created hand-set, oversized posters with phrases selected from Vignelli essays describing the principles and concepts behind “all good design.”
Watkins Graphic Design faculty Dan Brawner and Judith Sweeney-O’Bryan organized the July 26 workshop, which was led by Hatch Master Printer Jim Sherraden and shop manager Celene Aubry. Participating students were Ryan Arauza, Holly Carden, Ross Denton, Matthew Erwin, Marty Potts and Yanet Mireles. Previous Watkins-Hatch summer workshop themes were the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones and the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.
Currey Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 to 4 pm. Admission is free.
Established in 1879 in downtown Nashville, Hatch Show Print is a division of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. For more information, visit hatchshowprint.com
Watkins Graphic Design students and alumni are consistently among the most honored in the country through their submissions to regional, national and international advertising design competitions, particularly in the student and professional categories of the ADDY Awards (hosted by the American Advertising Federation). At the 2014 Nashville Student ADDYs, Watkins won more top-level awards than any other school competing (for the third consecutive year), claiming nine Golds, eight Silvers and three out of four Judge’s Choice honors.
Watkins students continue to blanket Nashville and the region with their intelligence, visual wit and creativity through unique opportunities with several beloved Nashville community events. In the past few years, their talents have been chosen to promote signature happenings such as the American Artisan Festival, the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival, Music City Hot Chicken Festival, Nashville Sister Cities Program, Nashville Symphony and Nashville Opera performances, and Murfreesboro’s JazzFest, as well as the Nashville Scene’s “Best of Nashville” cover art.