The Stendig calendar is being made available in India for the first time since it was created in 1966. It’s a radically simple, bold design that begs to be the centrepiece of a room.
Considered an iconic piece of 1960s modernism, it’s been called the greatest calendar of all time — so what makes it such a big deal and why does it cost Rs 5,600 plus shipping?
The 1960s were a revolutionary decade for design, influenced by modern industry and technology. And the late Italian designer Massimo Vignelli was a modernist master of industrial and graphic design. He is credited with popularising in America to the idea of balanced, minimalist, functional design.
For the Stendig wall calendar — originally created for Stendig Inc, a furniture importer in the US — Vignelli used his favourite font, Helvetica, a classic component of 1960s modernism. The calendar itself is laid out big and bold, in black and white, on a grid. The specifications, which remain unchanged, are noteworthy. This calendar is 4 ft across and 3 ft high. Held together by a black binding strip, every month alternates between white and black backgrounds. You get to the next month by peeling away the top sheet. The loose leaves usually go on to have a second life as wrapping paper; the back can serve as a blank canvas.
Within the year, the calendar had become a design icon, and the Museum of Modern Art purchased a copy for its permanent collection. It remains the only calendar at MOMA.
Today, the Stendig is still manufactured at the same site in Nashville, Tennessee, where the first one was printed. Only a limited number are made each year, and they’re usually soon gone. Until recently, you could only buy a Stendig calendar from select retailers in the US, EU, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and South Korea. Now, you can buy directly from the Cromwell company publishers, and have one shipped to your home.
“We had originally planned to sell only 50 in India, but initial demand has been so strong that we’re looking to up this,” says Tom Loyd, director of Stendig Calendars. The final number will likely be less than 200, he added.
n addition to the iconic calendar, Vignelli, through his US studios, created corporate identities, logos and posters for companies such as American Airlines, Knoll and IBM.
He believed, ‘If you can design one thing, you can design anything’. He did everything from packaging and warehouse design to branding and furniture. But most famously, Vignelli designed the New York City subway signage, which has remained unchanged for over 50 years (and a subway map that was, sadly, never used).