Although now based in New York City, graphic designer and art director Adam Ridgeway grew up in “one of the most isolated cities of the world: Perth, Western Australia”. It’s an upbringing that now imbues his work with the same feeling of isolation and seclusion he experienced in his younger years.
This manifests in many ways but, mainly, in the quietness and the control of Adam’s aesthetic choices. “My work showcases restraint; not in a way that is limiting, which is often a misconception in restraint, but in a way that is composed and considered,” he tells us. “I utilise nuance in a way to push it to the forefront: expressing visual interest in banality.”
Adam runs his own studio in NYC and has, over the years, worked for clients including Apple, Nike, Cos and Gap on everything from branding and identities to editorial design, art direction and website design. He’s a designer who can turn his hand to any brief or medium, and channel his collected, calm aesthetic into the results. It’s this malleability, in fact, which continues to motivate Adam the most in his chosen career: “The scale and adaptability excite me the most… It’s an approach that can then be executed in a plethora of forms.”
A recent piece of work for Jonas Lindstroem’s first solo exhibition in Paris is typical of his practice, he explains, showcasing “an equilibrium between disorder and control”. Utilising white space in an entirely purposeful way, Adam’s work is visually paired back, in turn, creating impact and complimenting the provocative exhibition.
Often, the concepts in Adam’s work are held together by small decisions. These are the result of an incredibly iterative process which involves heavily researching into both digital and print archives to “ground myself in whatever ecosystem the project lives within,” he explains. A recent publication titled New York Street Style made in collaboration with Sirui Ma is case in point. For the book’s binding, Adam made use of a simple ring bind in a subtle nod to the subjects inside the book, all wearing what Sirui considered to be over-looked street style.
Whatever the project, however, Adam completes his work with a certain sophistication and finesse, a practitioner firmly rooted in the school of less-is-more. It’s these decisions, which from the outside may seem small, even insignificant that, when brought together build tone within Adam’s work, communicating through every corner of a page, or a click on a website.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.