A lively brushstroke runs through much of Maud Passini’s work. From the appropriately peachy logotype for a rooftop bar in Savannah, Georgia, to a lavishly illustrated Sotheby’s auction catalogue, Passini’s balletic calligraphic strokes mirror her design-driven wanderlust. Born in a quiet town south of Paris, last year Passini moved to to New York City, where she works as a designer at the Brooklyn-based brand design firm, Franklyn.
“A year before I moved here, I was just into American design. It seemed very exciting and something I had to try,” says Passini, who studied fine art, graphic design, and illustration in France and the UK. “I love European design, but what you don’t do in Europe, for example, is [experiment with] lettering. We respect calligraphy so much and it’s something you don’t typically touch unless you’re a master.”
Since starting at Franklyn, Passini has shelved her strict Swiss typographic manuals and freed her hand and mind to experiment with forms. “Here I have a lot more fun with letters,” she says, explaining her newfound love of brushstroke calligraphy.
Passini has also found that American designers and would-be mentors are friendlier, or at least more responsive to young designers eager to chat. “In New York, it seems like everyone knows one another so you can just send an email and people are so nice.” In fact, she found her current job by writing to the studio while still working in Paris. “I reached out to Franklyn because I really liked their work and by luck they liked my work, too,” she beams.
So is Passini here to stay? “I’d love to go back to France eventually,” she says. “But for now, my work is much more exciting here and I’d want to stay a few years.”