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Buy Lines

Designers at Richmond advertising agencies talk trends, philosophies — and getting back to simplicity.

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John Kincaid
Studio Designer, Work Labs

Trends: "Clean, simple. Especially on the Web, we've been doing things [that are] easily collapsible."

Philosophy: "We use this blitzkrieg model, where you try to take each project as far as you possibly can and then scale it back from there."


Ardis Fishburne
Creative Director, Burford Advertising

Trends: "What I've noticed is everything in the past couple months and for 2014 is going to go to a very clean — simple layout, simple, very readable type. The color schemes are going to be one or two colors — very bright, more of a simple look. That stems from the website design, specifically mobile design, because the less junk you have on your typography the better it looks on phones."

Philosophy: "We don't charge our clients by the hour. We present something and if the client doesn't like it we go back to work."


Geoff Gillsson
Art Director, Madison and Main

Trends: "Lots of hand-drawn type, super-saturated photos … instagrammy photos, and bold, flat-color fields across many media types, maybe as a result of HTML5 creeping into everything."

Philosophy: "My basic design philosophy is to always find the happy medium between boldness and clarity. Our attention spans are getting smaller by the day in our media-saturated world. If it isn't compelling and bold then nobody cares. If it isn't instantly clear, nobody is going to spend time trying to figure it out. Our mantra is that "bold brands win. Period."


Geoff Stone
Design Director, Big River Advertising

Trends: "Some of what I'm starting to see — and would be happy to help champion — is a certain sensibility of getting back to the basics. That's still recognizing that the basics evolve with the times, whether it's technology or the sensibilities of people, but there's still this sense of purity and integrity that we're striving for. To some degree it seems like we've spent so much time making the world magical that we're finally saying maybe we need to clean a little of this off."

Philosophy: "The philosophy we try to champion here is that when you look at the world around us … everything that's been created by mankind is basically a thought process of design. My philosophy is to be as thoughtful as possible at every point of decision on the design path. That changes with the client's need, but you try to remind yourself, "Am I making a good choice for this particular situation?"


Chris Peel
Associate Creative Director, The Martin Agency

Trends: "Visually, outside of smart phones everything got dimensionalized. Apple led the charge in trying to make people more familiar with things they've never necessarily used before. Everything now has gone the complete other way, to complete minimalism."

Philosophy: "The older I get the more I try to do things that are simple and elegant, and communicate very simply. Now, when I'm working on branding, to get a really complex idea across in a simple way is really difficult. I try to distill things down to very simple ways of communicating."

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