Should graphic arts be decorative, or should they be functional ? Between rigour and superficiality, there is a permanent and pleasurable oscillation which can deepen our understanding of graphism.
Two concepts of graphism, which are poles apart. The first is about embellishment, and covers ornamental to (neo) rococo, by means of virtuoso, often humorous, creations. The second, serious and more clean-cut, seeks to organise by creating rules and structure. It uses simple, minimalist vocabulary and adds no un-necessary details. In between these two poles, do graphic artists have to choose one approach as opposed to the other ? Decorator or engineer, alternately to be criticised for vain superficiality, or for cold authoritarianism ? Applied arts, design or decorative arts : even the choice of words seems to make the graphic designer choose his or her standpoint. Perhaps this explains why those who create written symbols, who make page or screen layouts sometimes find it hard to give a one-word title to their profession.
What makes this profession unique is that it requires equal measures of art and techniques, equal doses of aesthetic pleasure and appreciation of the graphist’s role and usefulness. Complications arise when trying to orchestrate these contradictory tendencies, these concurrent desires. The graphist must strike a balance, whilst respecting a pluridisciplinary approach. This year at Les Rencontres internationales de Lure we invite major players and observers from the world of graphic design to take part in this enjoyable and enlightening balancing act, by sharing their experiences in words and images : typography and design, fashion, photography, signage, packaging, computer graphics, history, illustration, all of which are at their most useful when shared !