AGI Open Paris uses the theme of borders to "redefine what design could offer the world"

29 August 2017

At a time where the world is full of uncertainty, the design industry has an opportunity, and a certain obligation, to voice views through creative language. The Alliance Graphique Internationale displays this ethos in an upcoming conference, AGI Open Paris, featuring 30 international design speakers under the theme of Borders.

Taking place in Paris between 18 – 22 September, AGI have curated a broad line up of both design heavyweights and experimental newcomers in order to “stimulate conversation and meaningful debate on the changing role of graphic design today”. Embracing the theme to its fullest, the 4 day event looks outside of cultures and professions, “in an attempt to redefine what design could offer the world,” say the AGI. The organisers choice in venue also reflects this, adapting event venues to have a nomadic structure meaning talks will take place around Paris, from the Odéon Theatre to Palais de Tokyo.

The AGI’s offering of creative inspiration includes iconic designers that reflect social structure such as Ken Garland, Lance Wyman and April Greiman, known as one of the initial creatives to embrace technology in design. Contemporary studios also have an important presence, including talks by Hansje van Halem who uses typography and materials to solve editorial problems, and Javier Jaén who utilises cultural communication particularly through editorial design.

Unlike other conferences of a similar vein, the AGI is based around conversation rather than a lecture. The audience engage with the celebrated design speakers, and encouraged to interact creating a “discursive debate”.

Each of the talks is an opportunity to look inside the AGI, a member-based association of designers who represent the global and multi-faceted disciplines design can offer. “Once a year AGI opens its doors to the public, offering a glimpse into the minds of some of the most influential designers worldwide.” The plethora of design disciplines the AGI represents is also displayed in postcards designed for the event, which jump from solely typographic designs to fully illustrated works.

“AGI is proof of a borderless society where there is opportunity for everyone with the ability to give a visualisation to their thoughts, believes, ideas and world view,” explains international president of the AGI, Nikki Gonnissen. “We unite under the flag of visual communication where the dialogue with others is never far away. Paris’ AGI Open is a living, breathing testament to this mentality.”

AGI Open is the annual conference of the Alliance Graphique Internationale. AGI members freely participate in Open with the purpose of sharing knowledge and encouraging generations of designers to come. Following Paris the 2018 edition will be in Mexico City.


AGI Open Paris: Alain Le Quernec


AGI Open Paris: Alex Jordan


AGI Open Paris: Clément Vauchez


AGI Open Paris: Evelyn ter Bekke and Dirk Behage


AGI Open Paris: Paul Cox


AGI Open Paris: Pierre Di Sciullo

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) is the senior editor at Insights, a research-driven department with It's Nice That. Get in contact with her for potential Insights collaborations or to discuss Insights' fortnightly column, POV. Lucy has been a part of the team at It's Nice That since 2016, first joining as a staff writer after graduating from Chelsea College of Art with a degree in Graphic Design Communication.

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