TWICE — Interview
Twice, art direction and graphic design studio based in Paris.
Founded by Fanny Le Bras and Clémentine Berry.
Hello Fanny Le Bras and Clémentine Berry, how are you?
Very well, thank you!
Can you introduce yourselves?
We are Fanny Le Bras and Clémentine Berry. We met 9 years ago at l’école Olivier de Serres, before pursuing our studies at the Art Décoratifs de Paris. We began working as freelancers as soon as we graduated. Three years ago, we founded our studio Twice.
Where does your interest in graphic design come from?
We’ve been drawn to maps since our childhoods. The representation of space and scale, typography, and especially color gradients to represent strata, oceans, or snowy mountains were fascinating to us. We would spend hours copying them. This was our first encounter with shape and composition. Our design practice solidified several years later, in high school (commercial art in Clémentine’s case, and fine art in Fanny’s).
Can you tell us more of how you work together?
Before we founded our studio, we had already worked on a few projects together, and we collaborated well. Working as a team created a forum for discussion, exchange, and also allowed us to be more demanding with ourselves. Currently all of our work is the result of our individual personalities and strengths, it’s a true collaborative effort.
When we work on a project for a client, we start by exploring different approaches together, and our proposals are the result of this discussion. Our execution however, is carried out by only one of us. Otherwise, this would dilute our voice and confuse the client. By contrast, our fine art pieces, which are more personal, are a collaborative effort from start to finish.
What are your thoughts about the graphic design’s consideration in France?
That’s a complicated subject. Graphic designers don’t have enough respect in France. Budgets are often subject to cuts, and designers have to constantly justify their trade. We hear a lot of things like “Never mind, my son can do it – he knows Photoshop”. Visual language is not spoken by everybody. In order to sell applesauce, you have to slap a shiny apple on the packaging, or “it just doesn’t sell”. It’s hard to change pre-conceived ideas.
It seems like the tides are turning, mentalities are changing. The CNAP (Centre National des Arts Plastiques), for example, promotes the graphic arts throughout France. Designers are joining forces to fight scandalously unpaid job offers. New blogs mocking ludicrous client proposals appear each week. Maybe hope is finally on the way.
Is the fashion industry a constant inspiration?
Yes, along with other things. We find inspiration in many different sources. Music in all its incarnations, photography, painting, and even pop culture imagery fascinate us. We are of course influenced by our surroundings: by a movie, a playlist, a silly video on Youtube. The seamlessness between design and fashion is undeniable, but it’s not our only source of inspiration. The act of creation is by definition contextual, and our daily lives strongly influence our work.
What do you think about the correlation between music and design?
For us, music is crucial. Above all we love creating images to accompany sound. It’s a very complicated exercise, you have to walk a fine line. The album covers we are most proud of are the fruit of a tight partnership between us and the artists and/or musicians. A dialogue, an exchange is created. We become complements, and we form a whole. We love to translate our sensations using a visual medium, by working with different media, by using shape; we often prefer abstraction to realism.
Can you tell us a project you would like to realize?
There are so many! We would love to give movement to our images, to learn how to animate them. Maybe work on a music video. Maybe make a movie, tell stories that way. Work with space, think about the environmental aspect of design, start with set design. And books, too! We are very attached to print.
Which books are on your bedside tables ?
While we wait for summer and beach reading, we are preparing the new issue of Contraintes along with Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler 07.14
Portrait ©Audrey-Teishmann — Projects ©Twice.