Aletheia on the successes of founding a graphic design studio during a pandemic
After throwing caution to the wind and starting a business during lockdown in Paris, friends and long-time collaborators Anthony Vernerey and Hugo Dumont have built an abundance of beautiful work.
- Daniel Milroy Maher
- 6 July 2021
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
In the year since the founding of their graphic design studio Aletheia, designers Anthony Vernerey and Hugo Dumont have gone from strength to strength. Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, the duo have accumulated a host of brilliant commissions and projects, and have expanded their services to include art direction, identities, type design, motion design, and print design, among others. Friends since they met during their studies at the École des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Anthony and Hugo decided to set up a studio with the aim of uniting their skills and vision. They named it Aletheia after the title of their final year project (Welcome to Alètheia!), which imagined a city in the future built on the social media principles of convenience and immediacy over value and sustainability. “We decided to keep the name of the city from our graduation project as our studio name because this project was both the final point of our school career and the starting point of our professional collaboration,” explains Anthony.
The principles that ruled the city of Aletheia do not however rule the studio. Over the course of the last year, it has produced an array of thoughtful and considered designs for a range of different clients. In one recent commission for the Paris-based Niveau Zero Atelier, the pair developed an identity for its ongoing project Mega, a series of site-specific installations that utilise the clay dug up in construction sites around Paris to create ceramic artworks as a way of promoting local sourcing and production. In order to achieve a “bold, recognisable, and smart identity”, Anthony and Hugo chose the font Ginto by Dinamo for the logo. This logo was then imprinted on bricks using a water jet cutter as a playful nod to Mega’s concept, as well as being used for business cards and apparel. “We also designed a series of symbols based on the tools created by Niveau Zero in order to give even more consistency to the identity,” says Hugo.
Other recent projects include an animated frame and lettering for musician Katuchat’s debut album inspired by his flowery aesthetic, and a refined and dynamic identity for Mamie’s Records, a record label by French DJ collective La Mamie’s. The latter is a particular highlight, consisting of a fun logo that plays on the collective’s name and various motion designs that bear a beautiful and transitional knitted aesthetic. “We used a mix of 2D and 3D techniques to get this result,” explains Anthony. “We would have loved to collaborate with real grandmas so that they could knit us some images, but the temporality of the project did not allow us to do so. The digital solution allowed us to have a lot more flexibility and to be able to animate the images in a somewhat surreal way.” The result is an identity that feels warm and homegrown, again referencing the grandmother that acts as the collective’s mascot.
For Anthony and Hugo, identities such as this one form an integral part of the work that they do at Aletheia. Despite the wide range of projects that the studio has under its belt, working on identities allows the duo to really incorporate their various disciplines, from art direction to type design. “For us, typography is often the starting point of a larger identity,” says Hugo. “This allows us to create a graphic language that we can apply to different media and at various scales.” Certainly, the typographic element of Aletheia’s output is evidently one of its strongest points and it is clear that this aspect of their practice plays a crucial role in their visual developments. Many of their projects are presented in a way that highlights the textual elements of a design as opposed to using them as a supporting feature.
Looking forward, the pair say they plan to continue honing Aletheia’s various offerings. They want to create a studio that feels unique and true to their vision through a renewed focus on personal projects. This will allow them to experiment in ways that are typically not possible in commercial work, and to “have a more personal and artistic practice to develop subjects and aesthetics that are difficult to address in the context of a commission,” says Anthony.
Aletheia: Mega (Copyright © Aletheia, 2020)
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.