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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