“We want to challenge and disturb the audience”: meet graphic design studio Alliage
Going about its daily business, the Brussels-based studio meets every day of the week and you will rarely see its two founders working separately.
- Ayla Angelos
- 9 December 2019
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Run by Lucile Martin and Julien Pik, Alliage is a Brussels-based graphic design studio formed through unity. Alongside a close relationship between the two founders, this collaborative approach can even be found in the name – with an ‘alloy’ (translated in French to ‘alliage’) denoting a metal made by combining two or more metallic elements, particularly in order to give greater strength or resistance to corrosion.
Having first met during their studies, Lucile was on board for what could be deemed a “classic course of artistic studies.” Drawing from a young age, she then went on to graduate from a Baccalaureate in art, to then studying graphic design at Hear, Strasbourg – formerly Arts Décoratifs de Starsbourg. At this time, Julien was taking part in an Erasmus trip in Brussels, studying design and typography while Lucile was completing her Master’s. “This is how we met and became good friends,” says Julien. Shortly after graduating, the two went their separate ways in Parisian fashion and publishing, but due to a certain amount of job dissatisfaction, the two broke free, following dreams of starting their own studio. “At some point, I met Guillaume Kidula, who happens to organise a small music festival in Brussels (schiev festival) and who asked me to design the 2018 edition,” explains Julien. “He gave me the liberty to work with whoever I wanted, so I asked Lucile to join me knowing that she was tired of her Parisian experience. It was a beautiful, intense and epic adventure, so we decided to keep working together.”
Going about their daily business, the duo meet every single day of the week and you will rarely see them working separately. “The way we work together is very organic, while having our own single approach to design,” says Julien. Based on solidarity and vital strengths in communication, they embark on briefs fuelled by an honest approach to sharing their dislikes and solutions. “Working together means being complementary and knowing how to compose,” says Lucile. “I like to paint while Julien cares for mathematics.” Despite hailing from different backgrounds and methods of working, they both aim for one direction: that is, a natural workflow and to complete a project with ease.
Primarily working with small events and filing commissions for the nightlife industry, the studio’s founders believe that everything needs to be done and consumed in a fast-paced environment – yet this is taken with a pinch of salt. “We are asked to produce short-term visuals, such as stories,” says Julien. “We have no issues with these formats, but are often frustrated by working to a strict 24-hour exposure time.” This tends to happen quite frequently with single events such as parties in clubs or in smaller venues. “What we think is the most exciting part of our job is when we create visual identities – this is for numerous reasons, one being that these are long-term, concrete designs.” The past months have seen Alliage lend their design skills to various projects, including work for Psst Mlle, a venue that promotes the female scene in Brussels, as well as a re-design of The Word Radio (which launches this month). “It’s so stimulating to imagine a brand’s imagery from top to bottom,” he explains. “There’s more space and time to think of the best possible outcome for the project.”
Additionally, the duo cites a recent favourite project as one for schiev festival, an event in sync with a celebration of their studio’s first year working full-time. As the first project taken on by the studio, it’s a heartwarming reminder to the reasons why they launched it in the first place. With complete creative freedom, the two asked the question of: “How can we make the audience stay and read?” As a response, they proceeded with a readable typeface and aesthetic, juxtaposed with an experimental yet recognisable identity. “The cryptic visual takes up the whole spaces while the name, date and place are written in small white characters on a grey background,” says Lucile, “and it worked.”
As a whole, Allliage tends to gravitate towards projects that echo with freedom, plus the ability to test the founder’s design skills. Symbolic of the studio’s tastes, but also of today’s high-speed media consumption, Julien concludes: “People consume images so quickly though the internet and social media, they don’t take the time anymore. For that matter, we want to build visuals that challenge or disturb the audience.”