Rest in peace, Johannes Newrkla

13.03.1946 – 30.03.2020

Yes, a picture says more than a thousand words.
Jani, wisdom, confidence, vision, leadership, empathy, passion, heart in face, smiling against the headwinds our creative industries are facing. Looking in one direction, direction forward, dreaming to unite creative talent from all European cultures to form a force of excellence able to setting higher standards in communication lifting up our often fragile industry called advertising and getting it done: co-founding The Art Directors Club of Europe.

From President to Treasurer, for 30 years Jani served the club. I often had to cancel my participation in Board meetings. But when I attended, Jani was there. We have to thank him for his vision and determination, for his stamina and guidance through many tough times including the times we’re in currently that treated him so unfairly. Let’s treasure this wonderful human for all he gave us beyond his friendship and so sad we can’t give him back. Just some words, the picture has more.

Michael Conrad, Honourable Member of ADCE Board.


The whole European creative community mourns the passing of Johannes Newrkla, Founding Member of the Art Directors Club of Europe. We all remember Johannes as a tireless supporter of creativity in all its forms in all countries. In 30 years he served ADCE as a Founder, President and Treasurer, always willing to assist countries who wanted to start a creative club of their own and join the ADCE. Johannes, you will be deeply missed.

Ami Hasan, ADCE President.

I still can’t believe it is true. After knowing Jani for more than twenty years, I can’t imagine the future without him. We all will miss him not only for his passion, his kindness and his humour, the world will miss him as a great human being!

Martin Spillmann, ADCE Vice President.


Having known Johannes for the past 10 years, he was immensely committed to ADCE, passionate about creativity, a constant innovator on ideas, particularly on purpose and how the creative industry can be a force for good in the world. We are genuinely in mourning.

Dara Lynch, ADCE Board (UK).


Johannes was the best of us. He was and always will be the guy I wanted to be when I grow up. I told him that a few years ago in Vienna, and he laughed and then taught me a German expression that I will not share (it’s kind of rude). As I remembered, he was the third person (After Mercè and Franco) who first said hello to me when I showed up at the board meeting in Barcelona something like 12 years ago. So… I have no words except heartbroken.

Janno Siimar, ADCE Board (Estonia).


Man of spirit. Man of culture. Man of empathy. Johannes was a true example how creative people must fight for their ideals and dreams.

Slava Denys, ADCE Board (Ukraine).


Our heart is in pain, our mind is in distress, a question that will remain unanswered. “Why?” and more so “Why now?”. His work is unfinished with so much more to offer to all of us as a group and as a club. So much to offer and teach to each of us individually. And yet he is gone. Hopefully he has already set us in place to carry on without him, a place to guide us with his wisdom, creativity leadership and eagerness to do more. We promise to follow his lead to carry on and accomplish what set a vision for us to achieve. On a personal note, I feel privileged to have had the chance to meet Johannes, learn from him and call him my friend. With tears in my eyes I am giving this farewell. Keep an eye on us, Johannes, please, we will miss you.

Renos Demetriou, ADCE Board (Cyprus).


Four years ago, during my first meeting in Barcelona, it was obvious from our first encounter that Johannes was a unique person with a big heart. He was extremely passionate about the club and creativity in all forms. For me, being a newcomer at the ADCE board, I felt how he made an extra effort to get to know you, provided me with inspiration, and made you feel welcome. It was a real privilege to have known him, and he will be deeply missed!

Kristín Eva Ólafsdóttir, ADCE Board (Iceland).


In 2004, after a rather frosty meeting with the ADCE board, with some teasings like “You are Russian, you must pay a fee in proportion to the size of the country,” Johannes reassured us and helped a lot to break the ice and move on. He helped build ADCR and deploy ADCE exhibitions in Moscow. We always remember his clear confidence in the unity of the diversity of talents of a multi-cultural Europe, and of the whole world, indeed. Our first friend is a coronavirus victim. Bright memories!

Alexander Alexeev, ADCE Board (Russia).


It is a moral duty to offer our greeting and tribute to a man who have dedicated his life to creativity. Each creative carries an inextinguishable flame: yours, Jani, will continue to burn in our memory. The creative community will miss you.

Luca Pedrani & ADCI, ADCE Board (Italy).


Johannes Newrkla, a founding member of the ADC of Europe (ADCE), died on March 30 at the age of 74 and was called Jani by friends and companions. An obituary from the ADC Presidium member Claus Fischer.

This Monday we had to let our friend, the heart and soul of the ADCE, go. Jani did not manage to fight Covid-19. With Jani, our European club not only loses its founder, former president and treasurer, but also a person who always had the idea of Europe and an European creative club at heart.  And everyone who met him at the festivals or jury sessions saw him as an open, level-headed person, often with a touch of Viennese humour. But we also have lost a friend who listened and who always weighed up; when he gave advice, it was very thoughtful and considered. You could trust Jani, tell him ideas, considerations, preoccupations or share concerns. We often sat together on the challenges of the ADCE and struggled for the best solutions. And thanks to his gift to look at things from different directions, we have always made the right decisions. He was also interested in culture and art, unforgettable as he showed me “his” Vienna together with his wife Bea, and he knew better than any city guide how to tell a story about all the buildings or to spend hours talking about literature and philosophy over a glass of Veltiner. I owe the fact that I got to know Jani to our ADC, where I have been a member of the European Board for many years.  For Jani, our club has always been one of the pillars of the ADCE. I am grateful for that. For meeting this wonderful person. For this European thinker and doer. For the friendship with his special wife Béa, to whom my thoughts are now above all. Jani is one of us.

Claus Fischer, ADCE Board (Germany).


I met Johannes just a few times, yet that was more than enough for me – his personality immediately affected my personal and professional life. Right after one meeting with him I noted valuable aspirations, that I would try to follow and never forget. He was a great figure of love, elegance and wisdom. Also Johannes was very helpful to me, and being a new person on the board, I felt a very special support attitude from him. On behalf of Lithuanian creative community and Lithuanian Graphic Design Association we share our sincere condolences for losing a friend, a mentor and a dear colleague. Rest in peace, Johannes.

Martynas Birskys, ADCE Board (Lithuania).