If I had to select only one word to convey my design sensibilities it would be simple.
I place a great value on clarity and directness.
The world we live in is complex. We are bombarded by visuals and messages from the moment we open our eyes every day until we fall asleep again at night. For a client's message to reach us it has to be very clear and direct. As consumers of information we make decisions quickly and we are ruthless. If there is a discord between the words and the visuals, or the materials and the message we run the risk of losing our audience. As consumers it is the only way to survive when messages are bombarding us non-stop.
The flip side is that designing a piece of simple communications is very difficult. Behind the scenes a lot of chaos is taking place. I am doggedly refining my client's voice and message—and then tweaking the copy to finesse line breaks. Countless iterative design drafts are created with minute adjustments to layout, type size, spacing and color. I pay slavish attention to materials and production details.
It is much like working on a complex puzzle. Every change affects the whole. A small change in one place forces other elements out of alignment. That element is pulled back into place and suddenly a line break is bad. A color is brightened and now two other colors don't quite sit comfortably. A photo is re-cropped and now aligns strangely with the type. It is a crazy dance. But when it is done properly the final piece sings—and communicates and gets the job done.
Last week I attended a photography conference and something one of the speakers said really stuck with me. She said that painting and drawing are additive. The canvas is blank until the artist adds color and line. And to her photography is reductive. As a photographer she sees a broad scene and captures just a small portion and a small moment in time—to create her art.
I'm sure this concept isn't new. But suddenly I saw parallels between my design and my photography. The distilling down of a message and a scene are very similar. I look back over my photographic work of the past few years and it is clear that my favorite images have been getting simpler. I've moved in closer. Isolating my subjects. Limiting the color palette. Focusing in on minute details. Creating blur and bokeh to mask distractions and drive the viewer's eyes to what I want you to see.
Of course there are outliers. Outliers in my design, where I'm adding elements to create a rich tapestry, and outliers in my photography, where I'm exploring double and triple exposure photos. But I find myself returning to clarity over and over. My design portfolio and photo portfolio are full of examples of simple and direct work.
If you would like to add clarity to your communications, I encourage you to give me a call. I would love to help solve your puzzle.