Massimo Vignelli's Unigrid System



In 1977, Mas­simo Vignelli designed the Uni­grid Sys­tem for the National Park Ser­vice. The mod­ule grid sys­tem sized at ISO A2 (16.5″ × 23.4″or 420mm × 594mm) allowed the NPS to cre­ated brochures in ten basic for­mats and to keep a con­sis­tent, rec­og­niz­able struc­ture across all it’s mate­ri­als. Not to men­tion how eco­nom­i­cal the sys­tem has been for them. The grid fea­tures a black bar at the top and bot­tom with text set in Hel­vetica in the header bar.

It’s pretty incred­i­ble how the Uni­grid is still in use today. It just goes to shows how flex­i­ble a grid sys­tem can be when prop­erly designed.

Issue Jour­nal has an in-depth arti­cle on the Uni­grid and you can see the grid in action in this Flick group. Also, check out this larger scale redraw of the grid.




8 Comments on "Massimo Vignelli's Unigrid System"

  • This is pretty cool, very clever! Thanks for post­ing it.

  • strk says

    Nice! Do you know if it is avail­able in vec­tor for­mat somewhere?

  • Mikko says

    A mas­ter­piece wor­thy of recognition.

  • Not sure where you can find a vec­tor ver­sion of the grid.

  • David H says

    I was struck by this last year when my fam­ily and I vis­ited a park office and picked up some maps and infor­ma­tion. I actu­ally saved one of the pieces as a design ref­er­ence — a tes­ti­mony to the vital­ity of the work in the field.

  • As of a few years ago, Vignelli’s orig­i­nal pre­sen­ta­tion boards for the sys­tem sat in the NPS design offices, amongst the morgue of dif­fer­ent fold­ers designed over the years. As an intern there, I was amazed they just sat there, untouched, as if they would remain there for 30 more years.

    The grid is changed slightly now (and expanded for usage with sig­nage and dif­fer­ent folder sizes) and the type­faces mod­ern­ized, but Vignelli’s black band remains pretty true to how it orig­i­nally was estab­lished. I think much of Vignelli’s sys­tems seem forced today, but his work for the Park Ser­vice, much in need of an effi­cient and log­i­cal sys­tem, really stand the text of time.

  • Rick says

    There is a new web based grid called The Square Grid which is sim­i­lar to this idea: http://​thesquare​grid​.com

  • Meldon says

    Nice dis­close.
    Web Design