On Intellectual Elegance & Love

Excerpts that inspired me by famous Italian graphic designer Massimo Vignelli in an interview with brilliant author and artist Debbie Millman. You can read the full interview in Millman’s book “How to think like a great Graphic Designer”.

On Intellectual Elegance:

“When I talk about elegance, I mean intellectual elegance.  Elegance of the mind.  I would define intellectual elegance as a mind that is continually refining itself with education and knowledge.  Intellectual elegance is the opposite of intellectual vulgarity.  We all know vulgarity very well.  Elegance is the opposite.”

On Love:

“Love is a cake that comes in layers.  The top layer is the most appealing one.  This is the one you see first.  Then you cut into it and you see many different layers.  They’re all beautiful, but some are sweeter than others.   How do I define love?  I define it as a very intense passion on the one hand, and a very steady level on the other.  The first layer, the one of passion, is the most troublesome.  God, it’s a pain.  [The] more you love, the more jealous you get.  You become jealous of everything, the air around the person, the people, a look, even the way they look at something.  Then there is the extreme pleasure of writing about love, as well.  This is fascinating to me.  The layer of correspondence — and the anxiety to receive answers.  That is great.  Finally you come to the physical layer.  The emotion of receiving and conveying pleasure is sensational. It’s unbelievable how your entire body becomes a messenger.  Your fingers, lips, eyes, smells.  Your whole body becomes involved.  Then there is the layer of suffering.  Distance, remoteness, no presence, horror.  The suffering of not seeing who you want to see, and not being with whom you love.  This is another painful aspect of love.  We are talking about pain.  All these layers define love.  I think that is why it’s so great and so extremely complex.”


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