I recently wrote an introduction for GGG Gallery’s solo exhibition of typography by the French designer Philippe Apeloig. It opens Aug. 7, and if you are in Tokyo, visit Ginza Graphic Gallery. His work is a joy to behold.
Here is an excerpt from an interview I did with Apeloig this past year:
“After so many years or work, more than a generation, my work belongs to the French design context and history. I had the opportunities to participate in many diverse projects for cultural institutions such as museums (building a museum from zero, like my first professional experience, which was to work at the Musée d’Orsay more than a year before its opening to the public), the corporate identities, the publishers (so many books, layout and covers I have done), the signage systems, etc. …I know that my sensitivity for typography emerged from what I have learned in Amsterdam at Total design, where I spent two times the summers in 1983 and 1985 as an intern. These unique experiences drove me into the objectivizing functionalism, rigorous and abstract aesthetic. I am aware that I am link to the Dutch design approach.
“However, I have other influences (from pictorial, literature and performing art resources) that impacted my vision and my way of being a designer, something unpredictably French that connects me to a more lyrical, emotional and expressionist design. My motivations, my inventions and manner of working have been developed because I am surrounded by a mosaic of experimentations and dismantling cultures that can be defined as the French identity today. What can be described as typically French design is the context of multiple interpretations … from the Swiss influence (Frutiger and Widmer), the Polish school (Roman Cieslewicz) of posters, the adverting and the hand-drawing réclame (Savignac), the old French tradition for stylish and exuberant typography (Roger Excoffon), the avant-garde publishing area (Massin and Faucheux). … In some way I was contaminated by all of them and they shaped my graphic design work. They remained with me as the originator of how [I] developed my way along with all the constant astonishing discoveries that make the path to complete my own voice.”
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About Steven Heller
Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →