MATEO BROILLET — Interview
Mateo Broillet, Swiss graphic designer currently living in Amsterdam.
Hello Mateo, how are you?
I am fine, thanks.
Can you introduce yourself?
Mateo Broillet, 24 years old, graphic designer originally from Geneva, Switzerland. I graduated in visual communication from ECAL last year. I am currently living in Amsterdam, working for Joost Grootens Studio.
Where does your interest in graphic design come from?
My interest for the discipline came from a first appeal to photography specially press photography and reportage. I was not particularly attracted by graphic design, I saw it even more as something quite « geeky » and austere. I really discovered editorial practice by being involved in associational and militant organizations when I was 17-18 years old. I decided to enroll in an art school after that.
Can you describe to us your Five, Cinq ECAL project?
The project “Five, Cinq” was my graduation project presented one year ago at ECAL. It is a French and English bilingual newspaper project that seeks to visually compare various journalistic sources: the “hard news”, which deals with serious and current information to the “soft news”, looking to entertain, advise the reader.
Inspired by the 5W rule of journalism, “What, Where, Why, When and Who”, the organization of the newspaper consists of a main subject based on five chapters with different sources, from the serious “Le Monde Diplomatique” to the British tabloid “The Daily Telegraph”, including Twitter. The idea was to confront these sources and present to the reader unusual ways to see information. Five is a publication of 40 pages structured by five design confrontations in five different parts: texts and data visualizations, texts and images, texts and texts… Each chapter highlights a design « fight » with the purpose to make them cohabit together. The first issue is based on a quote “All rebellions are not revolutions.”
Looking backward, I found interesting as a graphic designer to interact with journalistic content, so-called neutral or not, to deconstruct it and show different ways to redesign visual information into a newspaper, a dying way of acquisition of information.
How was your experience at Onlab?
Excellent, I thank them to have taught me a lot regarding information design and facing clients demand.
Now you’re at Joost Grootens studio, how is it?
It is also a very interesting experience. I would say that Amsterdam is a very dynamic city in the design scene, which brings you to discover many interesting works.
You wrote that the social and political aspects of design interest you. What are your thoughts about the role of the designer in our society?
What I mean by being interested in the social and political aspects of design is to have a sort of “critical mind” in relation to what we are doing as a transmitter, which thereby also raises the issue of whether design, and/or the graphic designer, has a subversive or critical dimension…
I think I’m more interested in visually deconstruct communications strategies of different ideologies, to understand them rather than defend and highlight one group minds. I’m not certain that, nowadays, a disruptive dimension of graphic design, if we understand it as a service, goes necessarily to a standard politicization of the designer himself regarding a political party, an association; free to him and his client to be so. I really think that a compelling « social and political » work is to have a sort of « critical graphic writing » as an intend to combine design with investigation and research, and propose itself work objects that are not just answers to commands. I am well aware that it is based on a very fragile economic agenda since most of the studios that are interested in these fields are largely financed by external work in art schools, the search for state funds, and also participation in conferences, workshops in other institutes, the use of interns…
On the other hand, I am still quite optimistic about seeing an age, an era, a social situation on a designed piece. It is interesting to see today how a designed object spreads and spreads through the images-based social networks by duplicating itself, even if it becomes his own spectacle, for designers. I really doubt the critical dimension of replicating codes and uniforms that are just the shell of a previous design.
Do you have a favorite typeface?
It is always a difficult question because there are a lot of good typefaces for different situations. However, I would say that I have a weakness for condensed weights in general.
A designer that you admire?
I try to inspire myself from a lot of different backgrounds. I would say that if I haven’t discovered by friends the work of Wildplakken, Metahaven, Grapus or Formes Vives when I was 18-19, I would probably never wanted to be a graphic designer. Although I think that I find now more inspiration to design in road cycling or general journalism. Of course, I would lie here if I didn’t say that at ECAL we were also strongly influenced by our teachers there!
Which books are on your bedside table?
Eric Gill « An essay on Typography » and Celine « Voyage au bout de la nuit ».
The last word…
Thanks to you! You are doing a great work.
Interview: Dennis Moya & Tiffany Bähler — 07.15
Images ©Mateo Broillet, “Beyond The New” designed with Studio Joost Grootens.