AGI and Vignelli: Melchior Imboden’s Ode to Iconic Design Legacy

Melchior Imboden, the talented Graphis Master designer from Imboden Graphic Studio, Switzerland, has undertaken two noteworthy projects that exemplify his creative vision. The first “AGI Special Project 2022 – Together” was designed for the AGI Congress in Trieste, Italy. Melchior’s design for an exhibition and book centered around the theme of “Together.”  The second project pays tribute to the renowned Massimo Vignelli. Melchior’s deep admiration for Vignelli’s work dates back to his early days as a designer, and this poster is a homage to Vignelli’s enduring legacy. Melchior combines the initials “V” and “M” to create a harmonious composition representing Vignelli’s iconic style. Explore Melchior Imboden’s impressive work in the story below.

By: Melchior Imboden

Together, AGI Congress Trieste, Italy, 2022

On the occasion of the AGI Congress in Trieste, the participating AGI members were asked to design a poster for a planned exhibition and a book on the topic of “Together”.

The only specifications were the colors, the word “Together,” and the format. I designed a poster based on the word “Together” using round circles in the specified colors in combination with lines that connect to the circles. I constructed the circles as individual letters specifically for this poster. They form a complete network of letter circles and lines that follow the order of legibility of the letters Together.

Massimo Vignelli 1931-2014

When I received the invitation from the Massimo Vignelli Foundation to design a poster in homage to Massimo Vignelli, I immediately accepted.

My first memories of him were when I did an internship at Studio Heinz Waibl during my studies in Milan in 1987. Heinz Waibl was a close friend of Massimo Vignelli and raved about him as a person and as a designer. The two knew each other very well from their time in Milan and also as mutual AGI members.

I was lucky enough to meet Massimo Vignelli for the first time during the AGI Congress in Porto. I got to know him as an extremely loveable person and also photographed him for my long-running designer portrait series.

For the poster as a tribute to Massimo Vignelli and his life’s work, I worked with his initials V for Vignelli and M for Massimo. The finely detailed outer lines together with the bold V form an M. The poster can be read as both a V and an M. The two initials are thus combined to form a single M. Both initials thus combine to form a whole. I deliberately prefer a very reduced design, as this also corresponds to his attitude as a designer.

Melchior Imboden was born in Stans, Switzerland, in 1956. He lives and works in Buochs in Central Switzerland. In 1972, Melchior began his studies as an interior designer and worked in this profession subsequent to the completion of his studies until 1984. It was during this period that he discovered his interest in arts, design, and typography. In 1980, his first photographic works were created during his travels throughout the Mediterranean. In 1984, Melchior Imboden began studying graphic design at the Art School in Lucerne. During his five-year study, he worked for designer offices in Milano, Italy, and Basel, Switzerland.

Following the completion of his studies in 1989, Melchior was employed as an assistant art director in Zurich for two years. In 1991, he traveled extensively in South America and created further black-and-white photographs, a large number of which are now represented in, for example, the permanent collection of the Fotomuseum Winterthur or in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. Since 1992 he has worked as an independent artist, graphic designer, and photographer in Switzerland and abroad. His posters, many of which deal with the cultural sphere, have been honored with numerous national and international awards. In 1998, he became a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) and served as president of AGI Switzerland from 2006 to 2010.

Photography has become an integral part of Melchior’s life. His photo projects, such as “Nidwaldener Gesichter”, “Designer Portraits”, and “Zeitbilder”, have been frequently displayed in international exhibitions. He has been a university lecturer for photography in Bern and has also taught at various universities in Switzerland. He has been invited to give guest lectures abroad in Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Essen, Weimar, Trier, Speyer, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Xian, Yinchuan, Taipei, Kyoto, Moscow, New York, San Francisco, Paris, Chaumont, Besançon, Brno, Krakow and Tehran, among others. In addition, he taught as a substitute and guest professor in visual communication, graphic design, and photography for several semesters in Karlsruhe.

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Author: Graphis