In 2000 an exhibition was held at the Palacio de Revillagigedo, in the Principality of Asturias, in homage to five graphic designers from Catalonia who were pioneers in their profession and originators of the ADGFAD movement –Domènech, Huguet, Pedragosa, Pla-Narbona and Vellvé–. Its catalogue was signed by Elías+Santamarina.
Elías and Santamarina started out together in 1972 in what was a standout example of collaborative work over the decades that followed. This formula has been in evidence on more than one occasion across the history of design, for instance with Sonia Sánchez and Paco Lacasta, Sandra Figuerola and Marisa Gallén, Saura and Torrente (Ediciones de L’Eixample), and Pablo Martín and Fernando Gutiérrez (Gráfica) in Spain, or Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser in New York, to name but a few.
In ‘Pioneers of Graphic Design in Spain’ the art critic Francisco Crabiffose Cuesta wrote that this pair of designers from Asturias “… are on the other shore, the one some still deem impure or polluted by market and mechanics, where their role turns out to be significant in the progression of our design with its vague projections. There is affirmation that they mark the beginning of a before and after, from which we were born with other viewpoints.” Indeed, looking over the collection of logobrands that make up this post, designed by Santamarina in the period spanning 1964 and 1975, there is evidence of how this graphic artist was able to contribute to both “another view” and to consolidating the sense that there is a need for communication that strives for excellence, conquered in recent decades by Asturian businessmen in particular and the Principality society in general.
Nowadays, José Santamarina works with his children Miguel and Carmen under the generic name Santamarina Designers.