Elegance = Simplicity + Functionality


Elegance, being a quite frequently used attribute within the world of visual communication, to me is a very subjective term. While used mostly within the world of fashion, it’s definition and use therefore often strikes me as being rather general and wide, which might very well be caused by my own tight definition of the term. To me elegance is the perfect symbiosis of simplicity and functionality of design. The liaison of two characteristics, qualities I would define as my personal manifesto when reflecting on my very own design viewpoint.

I know this might appear contradictory, when looking at pieces and projects I was collaborating on with Stefan Sagmeister, who’s work for sure is not known for it’s visual simplicity or reduction. It is my educational background at the State Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart, Germany, surrounded by the Weissenhof Settlement, and a precursor of the later founded Bauhaus and it’s modernist teachings, which I feel myself more and more positively reminded of in the process of finding my very own character and style (again), after working under a very few, but very strong creative directors for almost eight years.

Even though reduced, clear, and highly functional visual works to many seem easy and simple to create, but they are for sure not! Good modernism, and therefore elegance is just as hard to deign as ornamental opulence.

About The Author

Matthias Ernstberger is co-founder and president of Timko&Klick, a New York based multidisciplinary art direction and graphic design firm. Before founding Timko&Klick in March 2009, Matthias spent 6 years as designer at Sagmeister Inc., New York, and 2 years as art director at the fashion branding boutique agency Lipman. Please feel to contact Matthias directly at Matthias@Timkoandklick.com

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