If you have ever traveled by rail in New York City, taken a train in Italy, or shopped at Bloomingdales, you have probably seen his work. Massimo Vignelli, the graphic artist who originally designed the NYC Subway Diagram, has fallen ill and is spending what are expected to be his last days in his home.

According to art magazine Creative Review, the designer has said that a fantasy of his is to attend his own funeral. As no one can grant him that wish, one may instead provide him with something equally as heartfelt: a letter. Partner Michael Bierut of the design studio Pentagram informed Creative Review of the wishes of Vignelli’s son, Luca.

“Luca said that Massimo would be thrilled to get notes of good wishes from people whom he’s touched or influenced – whether personally or remotely – over the years,” Bierut said. “Luca has visions of huge mail bags full of letters. I know that one of Massimo’s biggest fantasies has been to attend his own funeral. This will be the next best thing. Pass the word.”

The Vignelli Associates brand has been awarded many honors since it came into being. With respect to the genre of graphic design, it has received awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Art Directors Club of New York, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among many others. Additionally, Vignelli has seen honors for his work in special design, including multiple honorary doctorates, and interior design from various magazines and art societies.

Several examples of the designer’s work can be found at his official website or within the Quartz article that additionally urges readers to write the ailing artist. Each site offers a quote from Vignelli that describes his own work and his preference for how he and others should complete their works — a phrase that may be timeless itself.

“I like design to be semantically correct, syntactically consistent, and pragmatically understandable,” he says. “I like it to be visually powerful, intellectually elegant, and above all timeless.”

You can reach the Vignelli family at the following address:

130 East 67 Street
New York, New York 10021

Image courtesy of Arwcheek via Wikimedia Commons.