Studio founders explain how to get elegance from simplicity

Bright, late-morning sunlight reflects up off the white lacquered table in Underline Studio's base on the west side of Toronto. "We like it when it blinds the clients," laughs co-founder Fidel Peña. "We always sit on this side," adds Underline's other co-founder, Claire Dawson, indicating their position, where the effect isn't quite so dazzling. "Initially, it blinds them," continues Peña. "We can get them to agree a concept very quickly this way."

But maybe they don't need to resort to such tactics. The studio's work can be just as radiant as the light reflecting off its well-polished table. Founded just under nine years ago, Underline has developed a reputation for elegance - particularly in print design and identity work - that belies its bijou size. Indeed, just six people work in this first-floor studio with its well-worn concrete floors, posters displayed on the walls, and its light, airy atmosphere. Yet the studio's client list includes global household names such as Dyson and Audi.

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