In the first edition of Fête du Graphisme (Paris) we were invited to design a poster about the French capital, to be part of the Célébrer Paris (Celebrating Paris) exhibition, patent on Avenue Champs Elysées.
For this poster, we start with the phrase from Victor Hugo "Errer est humain, flâner est parisien" (“To err is human, to stroll is Parisian”), which, in our opinion, captures the essence of Paris.
We‘ve created the poster around the concept of "Flâneur", from the poet Charles Baudelaire, and "Drift Theory", from the French writer and thinker Guy Debord, which refers to the act of wandering aimlessly, letting the urban surroundings influence and create paths. In Paris you can wander the streets, find fantastic situations and being constantly surprised, there is always something more to discover. From this knowledge of the city, we’ve adapted our graphical approach.
The typesetting explores the coincidence, since the removal of some characters allows the reading of the word "flâner", a sort of visual poetry. We used Ordinaire typeface, designed by David Poullard and contrasted it with Didot. In our understanding, both typefaces have strong connotations with France, particularly with its capital.
Our first contact with Poullard’s typeface, initially named “La Metro”, took place in Lyon, during an ATypI (Association Typographique International) congress Lyon 1998 , in which the book "Lettres Françaises” was distributed.
In terms of composition, some space was left blank on purpose, a stimulus to curiosity and discovery of what is still to find and write. It is a way of representing the unexpected and unpredictable. The frame that surrounds the poster is a representation of something that goes beyond the white sheet of a notebook. Reference to the literature is evoked by the white sheet that stands out of the background color, thus becoming the central focus of the poster.
The way the sheet is explored references authors as Mallarmé (and it calligrams), or Perec Georges in Espèces d’Espaces (Paris, 1974).