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A NEW GRAPHIC IDENTITY
by ABM Studio

In the beginning was the A. The A of Arles. The A as symbol. Christoph Wiesner, director of the Rencontres d’Arles, and Aurélien Valette, communications manager, are renewing ABM in order to rethink festival communications.

After flipping the photograph around to give the Rencontres a decidedly modern identity and image, ABM Studio is following up on its radical, context-specific rethinking of communications and the festival’s brand. How can we make meaning and contact, once a year, in such a competitive, saturated visual environment? Connect to the festival’s marketing history, break away from it, and draw from the dynamic Sam Stourdzé developed over the years? How can a design studio reinvent itself without repeating? Seize the excellent and rare opportunity to end a well-established project, one that’s praised and anticipated each year, and reinvent itself following the vision and program of a new, passionate artistic direction…?

By opting for a project as daring as it is different, in which photography participates in a subtle dialogue with a very present, cutting edge and symbolic graphic image.

So, the A is for Arles—and the first letter of a story yet to come. A as a sign which, according to its variation, exceeds the limits of the frame to become an abstract, graphic form guided by what is needed and desired. An A in the foreground, slightly transparent, playing with the subject of the photo, letting the image reveal itself. A white or colored halo diffuses a light to bring out the text, creating a transition zone between letter and photograph through the use of a light screen.

And a font: ‘Media Sans’ by French type foundry Production Type. It was selected for its design inspired by fonts found in 1960s press, revisited by Jean-Baptiste Levée and his team for a modern version with multiple weights.

This first year, photographs from SMITH’s series Desideration interrogate and expose the world of photography and society, caught in the aftermath of the health crisis and a year with no festival.

We come out of this frozen time following a little hope and light, taking a few steps forward, and plunging into sidereal shadow.
Posted on 14.04.2021