More More

Sometimes, too much is not enough. This may seem contradictory to the typical badgering I do about minimalism. The point of minimalism is to use only what is needed and nothing more. And there are instances where quite a bit is needed. A few years ago I went to Hallmark in Kansas City to give a talk. On the tour of the headquarters, I saw the remarkable diorama Alexander Girard designed. Now, I typically, am not a big fan of cute Victorian paper dolls and tiny shoes. But in this context they sure looked good. Mary Blair was genius at combining multiple forms into a cohesive whole.

That same skill is evident in a feature Will Burtin designed for Fortune magazine in 1947. This is why the Burtin spreads work: First, there is a clear and strong grid structure. The elements work proportionately with each other. Second, Burtin uses scale to create drama and pacing. The cigar Indian is huge, while the huckster person is small. There are tiny and huge elements. Third, the pages are not a sea of rectangles, or as we like to say, “do not make that look like the wonderful world of rectangles.” Images are silhouetted, odd shapes, or trompe l'oeil. And finally, the color and typography are simple, consistent, and minimal.

However, beware of the temptation here. As you can see, it can be easy to become promiscuous with imagery. You don not want to be a layout slut, adding as many varieties of images and shapes as possible. 

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out, Make It Pink

I did a video interview for Mig Reyes today. He asked me to say a few words about myself so I said, “I’m a partner at AdamsMorioka with Noreen Morioka….” Then I added, sarcastically, “It’s a great place, we play the Beach Boys all the time and people are dancing on their desks.” Unfortunately, this didn’t come off as sarcasm, but as psycho. The only other option I could think of was that we like hot colors. But that seemed shallow as opposed to the deep and insightful Beach Boys comment.

While pondering this, I looked in the basket on my desk and saw this great notepad. “Oh, pink and red,” I thought and was quickly distracted. This is a notepad that I’m guessing was made around 1970 by Hallmark. Why is the world currently scared of hot pink and orange? I think it’s miraculous. It’s sort of LSD trip for the mainstream. The avocado green paper on the inside makes it even more wonderful. And if this isn’t enough content, I’ve added a page with my grandmother’s recipe for an apricot peach soufflé.