Why we need to reduce the ‘noise’ in design

Principal’s Bryan-K Lamonde discusses the art of designing ‘less’ and how he’s implemented that approach across the studio’s projects

‘Less is more’ is a concept based in simplicity and how restraint can sometimes have more impact than something busier or ‘in your face’. It’s a philosophy adopted by Bryan-K Lamonde, partner and creative director at Montreal-based design studio Principal. “We believe in doing things of quality that are long-lasting so companies and people can benefit from good design,” he tells CR. “Design doesn’t change the world that much, but it can improve the world we live in.”

At Principal, it’s not about minimal design as such, but more how the team puts an emphasis on their designs having longevity, meaning they tend to stay away from trends and adding in elements unnecessarily. “If it doesn’t last, it’s ephemeral, and we don’t like that because it’s too close to consumerism,” he says. “Graphic communication can be really superficial, adding a coat of paint over another coat of paint.”

Lamonde is keen to point out that this doesn’t mean the work has to be “boring” to last, rather it’s a bit like applying a dimmer switch to design, turning elements up and dimming others down to create harmony between everything. “In most projects there are things we keep and things we remove that are unnecessary. For example, a brand that has a good logo but a weak platform,” he explains. “Sometimes we just restore that logo to make it stronger. Other times we evolve the old platform to be more flexible, so it can be energetic or quieter. The basis though is quality.”

Top: Branding and campaign work for Théâtre Prospero. Above: Branding for the International Olympic Committee. All images: Principal