Simpletons

 

When Noreen and I first started AdamsMorioka, the design du jour was busy, layered, and busier. If a poster didn’t have 32 layers, 8 spot colors, 4 varnishes and some type that had been run through a copier 10 times, it couldn’t be serious design. But, since I can’t think that much, we made posters in 2 colors with no layers and easy to read Franklin Gothic. You can imagine the love that we received for this. I recall meeting a well-known designer famous for this type of complex work who refused to shake my hand. Jeez, you’d think we were kidnapping and drowning kittens.

Fortunately, we had some champions who made up for the angry stares. Our great friend, Alexander Gelman, was one of the first designers we met who shared our idea. Gelman takes simplicity and minimalism to its most extreme place. The result is work that is aggressive and almost assaulting in its clarity. Simple does not mean dull or conservative. When I need to make this argument clear, I point to Gelman’s work.

He’s just as direct in person. One year, we all went to the Sundance Film Festival together. A particularly annoying person in our group would not shut up. All day and night she told us what to do, what to see, where to park, and what was good and bad. Finally, Gelman simply said, “No. You are wrong.” This worked; she stopped shouting commands at us. As you see, simplicity in design is good, and simplicity in language is better.

Film Starts Here

In 2001, we started working with Sundance. Over the next 9 years, we had a wonderful time working on the Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Channel, Sundance Institute, Sundance Resort, and a few other Sundance properties. It’s hard to complain about a project, when you are meeting Robert Redford in a beautiful valley in the mountains of Utah. We had a great appreciation for the role Sundance plays in preservation, independent thinking, and artistic integrity. And, something close to our hearts is Sundance’s connection to the American west as an idea. It isn’t about the west of cowboys and Indians, but about vast open space, pioneering thinking, and optimism.

Working with the creative team at Sundance, specifically Jan Fleming and Robert Redford, was a true collaboration. And while it sounds like the party line, that’s how we do our best work. I also love working with Robert Redford because he insists on calling Noreen (Morioka), “Maureen Noriega.”