Featured Studio

République Studio

February 2019

We recently caught up with Tom & Amelie of République Studio! They give us a quick rundown on their journeys post-grad, and we hear about how the studio got its name. Plus we chat about taking pleasure in discussing (and sometimes fighting for) your ideas with clients, and we get into all things music including the best playlists and local radio stations to hum along to while you work.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

Tom : I studied at Penninghen design school in Paris and did a student exchange for 6 months in Akademia Sztuk Pięknych in Krakow. When I got my diploma in 2005, I began to work at Laurence Madrelle’s studio (LM communiquer). At the time, she was the president of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and very active in the graphic design community. We worked mainly in the cultural fields. Print represented 99% of our projects. One year later I decided to follow a girlfriend in Rome. There I lived as a freelancer for almost a year and worked for example on a big anniversary book for Saint Gobain PAM, which paid me enough to live la Dolce Vita. In 2007, I came back to Paris and set up my first studio with a friend, which was called Tom&Léo. We were very excited and accepted all the work that was offered to us. We designed a lot of corporate events, flyers for parties, zines, logos for friends... Three years later Léo decided to concentrate on illustration and moved to Argentina. The studio needed a new name. République was the nearest metro station of my office and it sounded nice, so it was a done deal :)

Amelie : I did my bachelor's and master's degrees in the typography department of La Cambre in Brussels. During my master's degree, I got an internship for a couple of months in Large Projects in Paris where I mostly did editorial design. A few months later, I collaborated with Speculoos in Brussels for a contemporary art exhibition in Paris, which involved silkscreen. We worked together as well for the exhibition catalogue. I graduated in June 2018. I work at Republique studio since September 2018.

What are some of the best and worse parts of your job, day-to-day.

The best part is simply what we do every day: digging fonts, designing graphic systems, finding concepts, sharing ideas, looking for the best answer to a brief etc. Most of our projects also involve other people, who have complementary skills, so we spend a lot of time talking, experimenting, debating and looking for the best solutions with them.

We also present all the projects to our clients and sometimes we have to explain them why we should choose to go this way instead of that way. In the beginning, it was quite difficult to impose our vision to clients who were older and didn’t necessarily have any design culture, but today with more experience we take pleasure out of discussing (sometimes fighting for) our ideas.

The worst part of the job is all the paperwork, e-mails etc. but it is something no one can avoid these days.

What are your three must-read design books/blogs/podcasts and why?

Books: Le Petit Manuel de Composition Typographique by Muriel Paris is the book we often consult to check typographic rules. Also, Grids and System in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-Brockmann should be a reference of every designer. L’Art de la Couleur by Johannes Itten and The Dictionary Of Color Combinations are quite helpful sometimes too.

Music : We always work with music on the background. Often we listen to our own playlists but sometimes we like to discover new music. For that, we listen to two online radios, which are reaaaaallly good!

The first one, created by Parisian music lovers, combines a lot of music from all over the world and from different decades. They did an amazing job searching and finding all the rarities. They also create playlists inspired by what’s going on in the world. http://radiooooo.com

The second one is a website with music selected by Guillaume Sorge, sound designer and music curator we’ve been following for a long time. https://5e.centre.ch/en/radio/ — The website uses a typeface we also used in one of our projects, will you recognize it? ;)

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Even if sometimes our first ideas are already good, we still do more research and try all the possibilities to be sure of our choices.

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What’s your take on internships? (do you take interns now?)

Yes we do take interns! They have to have a great curiosity, a similar approach to our way of practicing design, a good knowledge of tools and especially a real passion for typefaces. Interns at République Studio work on every aspect of our projects, so even if it demands a lot of time and effort to teach them our work process, it’s also nice to meet new people with fresh ideas and zero assumptions.

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

There are creative communities all around the world and Internet has broken all the frontiers. We often meet designers from abroad who are passing through Paris and take the occasion to stop by the office. We have some graphic designer friends too but most of our friends are in the creative field in general. Maybe it’s because we have a common interest in art so we are surrounded by architects, writers, directors, illustrators, photographers... You can take a look at the work of some of our amazing friends: Romain Jeantet, Leonard Butler, Plan Comun, Simon Cahn, Caroline Ruffault, Barrault Pressacco, Kevin Frilet, to name a few...

What's the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

It comes from Étienne Robial, a really famous French art director and graphic designer, known for all the identities and graphic systems he built for French television.

At school, during the final year, we did a very interesting exercise with him. To design our own graphic identity, he asked us to draw a square. Then, in that square, we had to draw 2 lines to divide it in 3 parts. We had to make literally hundreds of them! Possibilities are pretty much endless. So we spend one month drawing a lot of different squares. Then we had to choose one. Next step was to use 3 colors, red, yellow and blue, for the differents parts of the square and try all the possible color combinations. And eventually we had to make our choice. Of course it was very subjective. But the identity was then almost done. After that we had to just use Helvetica Neue to write all the information and decline on all supports.

The most interesting thing about this exercise was not the final result but the way to get to it. It taught us that sometimes you have to design a lot of possibilities to be able to be sure that the one you choose is the right one and fits the best to the brief. In our design practice, we try to do the same. Even if sometimes our first ideas are already good, we still do more research and try all the possibilities to be sure of our choices. After that, we can be confident enough to show the final result to our client because we know we have found the best solution.

Website: republique.studio

Instagram: @republique.studio

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