How would you describe your style?
In our production, notions of style are not really important; neither is that of an author associated with it. Our name, “My name is”, means we can sign every project as a collaboration with a third party (client, artist, etc.), rather than a personal creation (“My name is John Doe”, “My name is Artligue”, etc.). This is an aspect we’re very keen to put forward when presenting our work (on our website for instance).
We also tend to favour approach over style: we try to find the right answer for a request, a need, a problem, based on the project’s context, its characteristics and its target audience; we also try to strike the right balance between form and substance. Style may therefore vary from one project to the next.
Of course, there can always be certain elements that regularly appear in our production, such as the economical use of resources and a focus on efficiency. This is often reflected in our overwhelming use of typographic fonts.What are your main sources of inspiration (artists, graphic designers, etc.)?
Everything… and it tends to vary from one day to the next.What can you tell us about the works on display at ArtLigue?
The starting point of both works is a photograph.
It’s not shown: it’s replaced by a rectangle signalling its presence, and a description below. The description is objective (no interpretation) a little frantic, and comprehensively describes every single detail of the picture.
For this project, we started by selecting two things we were interested in the theme Artligue suggested: the first was our relationship – as My name is - with this medium, both as consumers of images and as graphic designers and art directors. As art directors, precisely, we work with photos every day: we use them, we make them, we do DTP on them… we consume lots of them. For us, images always work with another tool: text. Our work often consists in combining these two elements: text and image.
The second thing we were interested in is the idea that a photograph is not necessarily restricted to its subject or the action it captures. It can “freeze” vast amounts of details that you hadn’t noticed or understood. This idea fits quite well with the work of William Eggleston (someone we particularly like); in his pictures, behind seemingly banal and ordinary subjects, many things are concealed. You can look at the two photos we chose as pictures of a tricycle and a child with a red cardigan... but you can also see all the rest.What was the creative process for this work? Is it consistent with your usual approach?
Do you use different creative methods depending on the nature of the project (artistic, commission, experimental)?
Usually, the origin of a project is a commission: we are asked to provide answers, and that involves needs, constraints and context. The inspiration and visual desire we inject into a project are determined by these pre-existing constraints. The message we give form to - through a visual identity, a publishing project, a poster, an album cover – is originally not our own. Whatever our level of involvement in a project, there is always something that pre-exists and that comes from elsewhere.
So the creative process for this work was inherently different from our usual creative process. In a project such as this one for Artligue, the fundamental difference for us is that we’re not expected to construct a response to a need, but to create an image directly from our own desires and projections.
That said, whatever the commission or medium, the process is essentially the same: a lot of discussion, a lot of questions and doubts...
The two of us work together precisely because of the permanent exchange and our desire to challenge our work as much as possible.
What is your view on graphic design today?
We feel the situation of graphic design is somewhat paradoxical.
On the one hand, the context is pretty exciting: lots of great studios, excellent graphic designers, good training options, emerging scenes around the world and extensive diffusion through blogs and magazines. But on the other hand, the fact that graphic design, although pervasive in our society - packaging, posters, logos, signage, newspapers, websites, etc. – generates very little interest beyond a small circle of professionals and insiders (as evidenced by the fact that no venue in France is dedicated to it). As a result, the output is largely poor and uninteresting, standardized or even automated: creation is often stifled, subjected to the laws of marketing and advertising. There is also a critical lack of education of the eye, and therefore a limited design culture.
This is one explanation for our sector’s lack of consideration.Do you believe there is a boundary between visual arts and graphic design? If so, where would you place it?
Should graphic design be included in the arts, or does it already belong there?
At My name is, we pretty much accept the concept of commission that comes with the job, and the idea that we serve a message that doesn’t belong to us (this is even reflected in our choice of name).
That would tend to exclude us from the artistic field. It’s true that we partly work with the same tools and language, but the driver and purpose are completely different. We are designers: we create things that meet needs. And as we said earlier, we’re not after the “author” dimension in our production, and prefer to present projects as collaborations. Actually, the whole question of a boundary between art and design does not really arise in the way we practice graphic design.
Limited edition, numbered and signed.