“Simplicity is nothing more than what it needs to be. in fact, we’ve already over-explained it.”
This is one of the many messages of simplicity one can find when visiting the site for an innovative branding, advertising and design firm located in Minneapolis that simply go by the name, mono.
As part of the experience from the recent National AIGA Board Retreat, “Activate,” the organization set up a series of studio tours to participate in. When I asked for a recommendation, I was told without hesitation to check out mono, that they were doing innovative things that every firm should strive to be doing by the next ten years… basically, that they are ahead of our time.
So naturally, I went with the suggestion and found that calling them Innovative is an understatement as Travis Olson, creative co-chair at mono, began to share with us how mono works. He delved into everything, from the way they concept to interacting with both clients and other teams members within the agency. They treat every project with respect and exploration, yet not being content with simply giving the client what they want but rather giving them what they believe the client needs. In showing a series of projects from the Real Good Experiment for blue dot, to making waves in the media platforms through MSNBC’s Lean Forward campaign, and even their process going into giants like Apple (unable to show on the web), Travis displayed the intensity and passion the firm has for both their clients and the industry they work in. Also, it was made clear that diversity, in both client and approach, is important to their operation.
They not only believe in putting forth extensive thought and insight toward their project work, but in their space as well including the comforts and arrangements to accommodate workflow, productivity, and even comfort. A large skylight brings attention into the center above a large conference table in front of a projection screen, surrounded on both sides by glass walls of concept boards for each active client. Their cubicle like desks, provide privacy and openness, able to see partially through the mesh sitting comfortably in their Herman Miller chairs—an experience any designer would be lucky to have.
Travis Olson and mono were inviting, engaging, and certainly inspiring. It was an uplifting experience for those able to attend the studio tour, and an ad agency to take note of and worth researching further into.
“simple isn’t. #simplicity” — @mono_mpls
—jim, programming director