Catalogue, design studio founded by Gaspard Ollagnon, Lyon.

Hello Gaspard, how are you?

I am fine, thank you.

Can you introduce yourself?

Well, I am Gaspard Ollagnon, I am 37 years old and I live in Lyon, France. I am a graphic designer and my studio’s name is catalogue. My work is about addressing communication questions with relevant visual answers. To shape messages. Most of the time my projects, from graphic layouts to visual identities, scenography or digital projects, are treated as systems. I establish rules that are then applied and tested against their efficacy, their accuracy or their limits. For each project, the result of these researches is only one version of a universe of possibilities respecting the established rules. I like to think above of what has been asked to find their variations. That is how my professional work makes sense to me and how it allows me to explore new areas in more personal works, on research of rhythm, composition and harmony…

Where does your interest in graphic design come from?

My father was a painter, I saw him working on research on colors and light all his life long. He was dedicated to his personal research. This approach may have inspired me. After my adolescence, I realized how sensible I was to pictures, forms, proportions, colors, as much as I was before with music, which is clearly a part of me. These feelings became a growing stimulation. I had to question that.

How did you come to start up a design studio ?

Very naturally. I finally found my way when I started to work as a graphic designer. I had to have a working place/structure, my studio. However, I like being agile which means that I usually work by myself and I also welcome other graphic designers or other collaborators (photographers…) depending on the projects.

Would you like to talk about one of your project specifically?

I designed an album cover for Geoff Farina (Exit Verse) last year. This happened more or less by chance: I contacted him to let him know that I would be interested to contribute to his album since I really like his music. The project was already initiated but he saw my work. Three months later, he told me that no artistic direction was decided for the album cover, and then he decided to work with me. Therefore he let me do whatever I wanted to do. We exchanged on his album and on the topics addressed in it. Then I presented several proposals and surprisingly he chose the most conceptual axis very far from what is usually used in this area. I found it courageous! The project had a very tight deadline therefore it kept a certain freshness.

What stimulates you outside graphic design?

My family. Spending time and exchanging with friends. Play music, listen to music. Meet people. Discover new places and new things….

Who are the designers that you admire?

I am very interested in several designers and artists whose works stimulate and feed me. It would be complicated to cite them all, they are too many and I won’t be exhaustive. However, since a long time I am impressed by the work of Karl Gerstner, his approach and method. His design approach stimulates me a lot. Closer to us, I like deValence’s work as a graphic studio and as publisher (B42). All their activities are very consistent and their approach is to me exemplary.

Which books are on your bedside table?

I have just finished “La Peau et les Os” by Georges Hyvernaud. By my bed, you can find “Une fille, qui danse” by Julian Barnes (I bought it because of its title…), “Les Choses” by Georges Perec and a Daredevil comic by Frank Miller and John Romita Jr (“L’Homme sans peur”, extraordinary!).

These days, I am developing a workshop for an applied art school based on fundamental practice of graphic design. So I read again Bruno Munari (“Design and Visual Communication” and “Design as Art”) and also the first volume of “Modulor” by Le Corbusier. I have them with me all the time.

The last word…

Special thanks to Ghislain Mirat for the picture and thank you for the interview.

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Interview: Dennis Moya & Tiffany Bähler — 10.15

Pictures: portrait ©Ghislain Mirat, projects ©Catalogue studio.

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