I truly enjoyed the “frank and honest” presentation by Sean Adams this evening as part of the AIGA Raleigh event: AdamsMorioka, A Very Special Episode (held in the Burns Auditoriam at NC State). Sean presented with a charming sense of humor and a genuine spirit of openness when “sharing his secrets.”  What a wonderful way to spend a Wednesday evening!

My top 10 “take-aways” from the presentation (in no particular order) include:

  • The importance of clarity, purity, and resonance within design work.
  • We all want to be complicated three-dimensional characters, but the fact remains, the world can’t digest it. Instead, the world wants one-dimensional characters that clearly define: we do “x” and it looks like “this.” Consequently, AdamsMorioka strives to reinforce their “one-dimensional vision” (however sick of it they might get) of being: simple, bold, direct, fun, happy, California. In this way, he encourages designers to “take your personality, and turn up the volume on one aspect of it.”
  • NEVER GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT A GIFT TO GIVE (the Japanese term for this is: Omiyage).
  • FLATTERY is also good.
  • People hire you for your philosophy – not because you’re good at typography. So what is your philosophy? And on top of that – how do you show you are an “interesting” person?
  • Always be “camera ready.” Meaning have a high res version (300 dpi) and a web-ready version (72 dpi) of your projects saved and ready to send if anyone asks for it.
  • The AdamsMorioka business philosophy functions around finding work that is based on the three “f’s” = FUN, FAME, FORTUNE. Every job should include at least 2 of the 3.
  • Be relentless in extending your business relationships with friends/clients and the people you want to work with.
  • “Quality of Life” should be taken seriously. For instance, they each HAVE to take a one hour lunch (away from their desk), work from 9:30-6:30pm, and take the weekends off.
  • They might show their clients 150 variations on a logo design – but at the same time – lead the client “down the path” to a final top (3) solutions or even to (1) final solution. This final solution might already be fully realized and presented to the client right afterward (including business cards, letterhead, and even advertisements). Yes, you understood it correctly, this all might happen within the same one meeting.