The work of Parallèle Graphique might be described as controlled chaos. While some projects by the French studio are sparse and contained, others almost seem to go off the rails with beautiful, illustrative elements juxtaposed with custom typography, often confined in tight compositions.
Before joining forces, partners Marceau Truffaut, Chloé Plassart, and Thomas D’Addario collaborated on BimBaam!, a showcase of their personal work with comments from like-minded creatives. In 2014 this partnership blossomed into a business because, as Trauffaut points out, “It can be very painful to make money and find clients on your own, so by collaborating we share a network of contacts and we’re able to do bigger, more interesting projects.”
So far that’s meant brand identities, custom communications, and web designs. The revamped identity they did for Le Biplan (above), a small, independent concert hall in Lille, is particularly striking across all formats. “They had a small budget, so we had to find solutions to build a nice, global identity with interchangeable components that could be adapted for different purposes,” Truffaut says. “So we customized a typeface for them and every month we update their concert offerings, which are printed on a trifold brochure.” The brochure is dense with information, but the typography and layout are so well devised, it feels like purposeful chaos.
Then there’s the sophisticated identity and website for Tool&Totem, which stays spare and orderly. The black-and-white logo works as well in the foreground as it does as a supporting player, allowing the fashion collections to take center stage.
Pete the Monkey is another story, altogether. Proceeds from this music festival, which takes place in July in Normandy, support the biggest monkey sanctuary and wild animal refuge in Bolivia. Parallèle Graphique designed the 2014 identity, customizing the type and hand-drawing the monkeys. “We also screen printed a poster that was sold during the event,” Truffaut adds.
Screenprinting posters is something of a passion for the design trio. Aside from their client work, they have an online shop where they sell their illustrative, silkscreened posters. “These illustrations are totally separate from our daily work,” Truffaut explains. “We all have our different affinities and favorites themes. For example, I’m strongly influenced by heavy metal music and tattoo images. I like religious and esoteric signs. Thomas is more influenced by street and pop designs. He has a happier, more joyful style.” Plassart’s posters incorporate ornamentation and stylized lettering, taking on a distinctly feminine feel.
No doubt as this promising, young team grows their business and expands their reach, their individual styles will change; but let’s hope they don’t lose their rare ability to make sense of disparate elements, and remain calmly in the center of their own design storm.