Originally from L’Ecotière in the Loir-et-Cher, a tiny French town consisting of one street and no shops, Ariane Delahaye came to graphic design as many an art student does: through drawing and painting from a young age.
“I wasn’t good at drawing comic characters or anything like that,” she explains, “but I was fascinated by composition.” Ariane would create drawings that often incorporated lettering, inspired by old postcards or packaging she saw around her family home. At the age of 13, Ariane’s family left their small town and moved to Paris where she attended high school. It was here she discovered the expressionist pictorial movement through the work of Blaue Reiter and artists like Ludwig Kirchner who actually painted posters. “I realised the link between what I was seeing as an ‘artistic job’ and a ‘communication job’,” Ariane recalls, kick-starting her fascination with illustration and graphic design.
Ariane’s work, although varied in outcome, is rooted in methodical working practices. “I love to create systems,” she tells It’s Nice That, “systems that are based on something very objective, related to the subject or client but that I can transform into a really surprising graphic form.” For example, her bachelor of graphic design at ECAL culminated last year, in a graphic novel dedicated to the disorder of misophonia.
Misophonia is characterised by the experience of very strong negative emotions – such as anger or anxiety – in response to every day sounds like eating, drinking, chewing, breathing or other mundane and everyday activities. Until recently, there was no medical evidence proving the condition’s existence and so Ariane took on the challenge of translating the feeling onto the printed page.
When working on a project, Ariane will spend a long time creating the parameters or guidelines from which she will work. Once that is done, “you can produce almost without thinking,” she explains. “I like the idea that you have a sort of recipe to produce the image, the lettering or the layout.” This will include a methodical experimentation of tools and materials in order to ensure she is working in the most suitable way for any given project. As, at the moment, she is very much inspired by “arts and crafts activities like colourings, hand-crafted decorations and other geeky or cheesy activities,” she decided on the unusual method of salt dough moulding to produce the imagery for Misophonia.
Ariane created a series of models of small characters, furniture or parts of the human body, applying various digital treatments to the photos she took of them. The saturated pages, filled full-bleed with the janky illustrations and combined with panels of text, create an overwhelming and oppressing feeling inducing misophonia for those who have never experienced it.
Having recently completed a “very quick but very constructive” internship at Spassky Fischer, Ariane now works as a freelance designer in Paris. Her current project sees her creating the identity and software interface for an architectural integration tool called QSV. What perhaps could present a nearly impossible task for someone with no architectural or scientific background, Ariane’s recipe-like process allows her to tackle briefs in logical and intuitive ways translating intricate information. “Working with scientists, architects and computer specialists on this project was extremely interesting because I had to be very precise and respectful about the meaning of the diagram I was re-designing, for instance. However, also on the clarity of my global design so that people that have, just like me, nothing to do with architecture or science might understand this very complex method,” she explains.
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