Featured Art Direction Studio

Avant:Post

August 2019

The team at Paris art direction studio Avant:Post recently took some time to chat with us about learning from their worst design job, their favourite designers to watch in Paris, plus how they're having fun with design and connecting on Instagram.

What's the worst design job you’ve ever had and how did it make you a better designer?

We once worked with a Parisian architect to create his visual identity. We’d been asked to design a logo and we came up with 6 strong and different leads to make sure that one of them would seduce him. After each meeting, our client drew us a little sketch of a logo, asking us, "Why don’t you try something like that?". We came back to him with new versions (including his sketch) and the situation repeated again and again, until we had designed at least 40 logos, and he still wasn’t happy with any of them. Finally, we ended our collaboration and he choose to design his logo on his own.

This situation taught us that when a project goes wrong, it is better to take the time to talk with the client, start over from the beginning, listen to them and establish new rules together.

How did you name your practice and what does the name represent to you?

We are Avant:Post, a name we chose because it has a double meaning in French, which is not easy to explain in English, but we will try!

"Avant" means "before", and "Post" comes from Latin and means "After", so the idea was to be in the present moment, right between "Avant" and "Post". That's why there is a symbol in our logo, which recalls the notation of the time on a watch.

But the full name "Avant:Post" echoes the French word "avant-poste", often used in the expression "être aux avant-postes", which could be translated as "being first in line", and we kind of like the this meaning.

What are some of the best and worst parts of your job, day-to-day?

The best moments in the everyday life of our studio are when a project finally becomes real; for example, when you make a photoshoot after having prepared it for a long time, or when you receive beautiful well-made prints of a visual identity that you have been working on for months.

On the other hand, the most complicated moments are generally those that do not involve creation. We are a small structure and we do everything ourselves, and it is sometimes a little boring to have to manage all the things necessary for the proper functioning of a company. It's always nicer to create cool things!

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When a project goes wrong, it is better to take the time to talk with the client, start over from the beginning, listen to them and establish new rules together.

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Is there an active design community in your city and who are your favourite top 5 designers/studios/organisations our readers can check out?

Of course, in Paris there is a very large community filled with very good designers. For example, we really like the work of Helmo, a studio that always makes beautiful images for cultural structures (Jazzdor, Palais de Tokyo) or the productions of the Twice, which works for music festivals (Baleapop, Labatie festival). We also admire the photographic work of Le Creative, which always have cool ideas and very special esthetics. We also like the illustrations and posters made by Pierre Jeanneau, especially for the Théâtre de Belleville, and we appreciate the work on visual identities done by the Yorgo&Co studio, which is always very high-end.

Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

Recently, we started working on a self-initiated project, which consists of making posters about the songs we love and listen to together in the studio. It's kind of a visual playlist and it's a project we really like to work on because it allows us to express our creativity without constraints and to experiment with new things. And it’s cool to see that some artists like the visual we’ve made with their lyrics! If you want, you can see an overview of our production on our Instagram account @avant_post.

Who’s on the team, what are their roles and why do you love them?

As we said above, we are a small structure, created by 3 long-time friends (we have went to school together and have been part of a collective for several years): Adrien, Johan and Quentin. Adrien manages customer relations and develops strategies for the evolution of the company and the progress of our projects. Johan and Quentin work hand in hand with Adrien on the creative part of the projects, and offer visual solutions adapted to each brief. Basically, we work for each project in a coordinated way and everyone's opinion counts!

Website: avantpost.fr

Instagram: @avant_post

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