A graduate of ECAL, for designer Alice Franchetti, graphic design is the sweet spot where maths and intuition meet. “You have to find a good solution with the help of logical rules but at the same time, there is an intuitive dimension that clicks into place when you know that everything works visually. You are constantly exercising your eye by building a project and I love to see myself evolve,” she tells us. Now based in Geneva, Alice runs her own studio practice while also teaching at ECAL and EAA.
Alice was born and studied in Switzerland, a country which has clearly influenced her clean, precise aesthetic. “[It] gave me the chance to evolve within this world of references and has greatly contributed to shaping my visual culture and my aesthetic taste, composition, harmony, simplicity and efficiency without artifice,” she explains. Despite this specific graphic education, Alice understands the need to develop idiosyncratic visual languages for each project: “I don’t like projects that speak only to graphic designers, for me to be a good graphic designer is to highlight the content and not crush it with exercises in style.”
This is certainly the case in Alice’s ongoing work for Cully Jazz Festival, made in collaboration with fellow designer and best friend Giliane Cachin. A project that started life as a competition entry (which they won), the duo has now produced the identity for the festival two years in a row, and are working on a third. “For the realisation of this project, we developed a language specific to the Cully Jazz Festival,” Alice explains. “We synthesised and isolated what this annual event represents for us, namely its bucolic setting and jazz music.”
In order to combine these two ideas, Alice and Giliane researched the existing visual representations of the fields of music and geography. “We began by focusing on music and more particularly on sheet music,” Alice continues. “They are composed of notes, which are symbols consisting of a head, a shaft and a duration, which make it possible to express, by their placement on a page, the height, the duration, the intensity and the stamp to be read by an interpreter.” When it came to the representation of place, topographic maps formed the basis of their studies. Very quickly, the visual similarities between the two areas became clear.
Alice explains how these sheet music and topographic maps then combined to produce Cully Jazz Festival’s identity: “In order to develop this link, we chose two simple forms, both complementary and opposite: the point and the line. Indeed, when we compose with these two graphic elements, their combination immediately evokes the notion of rhythm. The lines arranged differently, modified and repeated, evoke the landscapes of Lavaux. The graphic union of lines and dots creates a coherent and unique identity. In a continuous mimicry between place and graphics, we then introduced some colour to highlight the topography and reflect the very special place of the Cully Jazz festival. This allowed us to create contrasts and attractive visual atmospheres.”
This identity both in its creation through collaboration and logical, well-researched solution demonstrates what makes Alice’s portfolio so strong. “My favourite part [about being a designer] is finding ideas, imagining new and beautiful visual worlds and after that, I love seeing them take shape and come true,” she tells us. “I like working on any project, big or small, short or long, alone, with one or more people. That’s what’s interesting, it’s always different.”
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.