Minimalism, Massimo Vignelli, & Black Sweater Antidepressants

Noemi Florea grew up in Potomac, Maryland. She had a negative high school experience. Now she’s studying in New York at the best art and design school in America.

“I had a really negative experience growing up with high school. The county that I was going to public school in, Montgomery County in Maryland, had this very competitive atmosphere. Everybody was always competing for the best grades and the best SAT scores.

When I was fifteen, I realised that this competition for the best statistic, using the statistic to define yourself, I just thought it’s so unfulfilling. I really just rejected that and I didn’t know what I was going to do.

I was kind of an anarchist for a little bit. I negated everything. I thought society was this big circle jerk. We all just applaud each other and we never achieve anything. Nobody thinks for themselves. It sounds very radical.

As some years went by I became more mature. I was never able to return to that idea that you have to study finance, you have to get a good job, because that’s your purpose. You have to study so you can get a good job and you can make money. I never was able to return to that.

Art was this kind of inbetween of being this institutionalised person who I despised, versus being a total anarchist and going nowhere.”

Now, Noemi is 18 and living in New York.

She’s studying a dual degree. One degree to earn a bachelor of fine arts from Parsons School of Design with a major in integrative design. The other half of her dual degree Noemi is majoring in environmental studies Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts.

Why is this combination important?

“As designers, everything we create, we have to consider the impact on the environment that our creations will have because that’s so crucial today.”

Noemi and I sat down to talk for my podcast T-Shirts & Ties where we chat with Creatives and Strategists. We discussed her thoughts on design, her upcoming exhibitions, and the problems with fast fashion and what we can do about it. Enjoy.


“I think minimalism is key. I don’t think that there should be very much excess. Also, being organic in your creation or your style. So architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Japanese artists, they always gravitated towards nature and the environment for their inspiration for their creations. I feel that the philosophy of minimalism and letting the environment dictate the creation is very important for design so it’s cohesive with its surrounding.”

Massimo Vignelli.

“I’m really interested Massimo Vignelli. He’s not super well-known, but he’s a communication designer. He designed the NY subway communication map. That’s probably his most famous creation, but he also did a number of other commissions. He did architecture; several churches in NY, and he designed the brochure layout for the National Parks in America. I’m really interested in his style, it’s very minimal and it’s very geometric. He uses bold colours and clean lines and I think that style from the 70s, which was his peak era, is so compelling.”

Black Sweaters Antidepressants.

“I’m putting together my first exhibit event in a month in New York in the East Village. I’m doing it with a group of artists at Parsons. So each of us are proposing our own work for this exhibit. The exhibit is called My Pill. So you go back on some kind of traumatic experience that you had and you reflect on how that contributed to who you are today.

So I decided to go back on my high school experience and how I really felt like an outsider in this environment that was so academically pressuring. So I’m taking some poems that I wrote when I was fifteen and I illustrated them this year and put them together into a book called Black Sweaters Antidepressants.

I’m going to make 50 copies of the book which I will be selling at the exhibit and I’m going to buy an authentic school desk from eBay. I’m painting that black; symbolic of high school and how I hated it. And I’m going to spill these copies over the school desk and I’m going to choose one spread from the poetry book and I’m going to blow it up to hang on the wall as a visual.”

Just Friends.

“I did do another book project for the final project of one of my classes at Parsons. It was called Just Friends. I took [the texts from] one of my high school friends, when we both moved to different colleges we were texting everyday to talk to each other about our day, college and how things are changing. Over time we grew apart. We were texting less and less. I decided to take this book where I just repeated verbatim all of our texts. I emphasized the distance that grew between the texts as time went on. I showed how two people can grow apart. You don’t even have to explain that; it’s just evident in the distance between the texts.”

Listen to the full T-Shirts & Ties podcast here.