07 Jul 2016
This week we chatted to Bernard Bréchet. Originally from the west of France, Bernard lives in Paris, and is partner at Gédéon, a brand identity, broadcast design and brand content agency. He has worked on projects like France Television’s global identity, as well as many other large scale projects. He is inspired by simple ideas and simple solutions.
What is it you like about typography?
Bernard Bréchet: Letters and numbers were almost the first drawings I was interested in as a child. I used to draw numbers especially, without knowing that it was actually a ‘field’, or even better, a career. I think typography is in a strict sense, a way to give shape to the language. And there are two notions, shape and language, that I’m really fascinated about. A letter is both. A word is a world.
At what point in history would you choose to live?
I feel that the internet is maybe bigger for humanity than the creation of the printing process with Gutenberg. I don’t know. Maybe the twenties, because it was just after the biggest mistake ever (WWI) and people wanted a change. They created so much, in all disciplines, in such a short time. I also like the seventies. Otherwise, the Quattrocento, for the same reasons.
Has your creative process changed over the years?
I started to learn while writing and drawing on a piece of paper. It was difficult because I’m left-handed, and most of the pencils used at school would dry after a few seconds… I try to keep this process, I mean drawing, but the lack of time pushes me to go on screen sooner. That’s a mistake. If an idea works as a sketch, it will also work with a computer. Sometimes I keep on drawing in front of my clients, to let the magic happen. It’s happening just under their nose, and you can let the creative process flow as a simple explanation. It reminds me this great joke that Groucho Marx did once: “A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five!”
What is your favourite magazine/movie/T.V. series?
My favorite movie is “The Deer Hunter » from Michael Cimino, who just passed away. Probably because all that I like/love in life is there: friendship, love, brotherhood, courage, failure, community, rituals, small and big history… It’s crazy that this genius, Cimino, was sacrified that much. But human beings seem to love hate. I love fate.
What sparked your interest in type design?
Beauty. I remember entering a small private garden when I was maybe 5 or 6. I gazed at the old wrought-iron chairs and table that fitted so well the trees and the flowers. I got what design was. Beauty, balance, function. Music is probably the second major influence. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Shostakovich… Jazz and Soul, of course.
Your most satisfying achievement?
My 8 month old son, Stelio. Otherwise, France Televisions global identity in 2002. It was a tough pitch, and Gedeon had to win to survive at the time. We won, with a great simple idea. A logo based on screens in motion, that we stopped to create the still sign. And recently, France 4 global package. Again, a simple answer to a complex brief.
Name something that inspires you.
Music. Nature. Movies. And animals.
Interview by Dave Coleman.
Learn more about TypeParis16 programme and Talks
Thanks to our Platinum sponsors: Adobe, Typekit. Interested in sponsoring? Download the Sponsor pack.