It was six years ago that we last spoke to Atelier Tout va bien, and let’s be honest, quite a lot has happened in that time. The Dijon-based studio was a mere three years old back then, and in the time since it has solidified its position as a strong print-focused studio.
“The last six years have definitely proven to us that we would prefer to keep on working with papers, inks and printers,” explains Anna Chevance, who alongside Mathias Reynoird makes up the studio. As a result, the studio has developed strong ties with some large printing companies around France such as Lezard Graphiques in Strasbourg, and the duo ultimately believes that the relationship should be collaborative as opposed to just one way. “We think graphic designers must refer to printers as partners rather than a simple supplier of an inevitable chain,” adds Anna.
The studio has managed to retain many of its clients over the years, many of them coming from a diverse range of fields that include circus schools, contemporary arts centres and Haute fashion brands. “We believe this diversity has forced us to reject having a single visual style or a one-dimensional ‘writing system’ in terms of design,” explains Mathias. “Every commissioned graphic design work is all about its context.”
He goes on to add that the studio’s work is often centred around two primary areas, but there are others it would like to branch into. “We spend a lot of time juggling through different types of assignments but the two main ones are identities and publications design,” he says. “The more time passes by, the more we feel that conceiving books is definitely our thing. We would love to design more books.”
The breadth of projects that the studio takes on are illustrated by those that it cites as particularly important of late. The first was for Nuit Blanche Mayenne, a contemporary art event and exploration through the city of Mayenne. “We opted to work on three sets of flexible letterings which were simply designed to illustrate the many paths to the various exhibitions sites,” says Mathias. As well as integrating various moon phases into the compositions, the studio also approached the printing methods as a way to differentiate their work: “In order to emphasise the nighttime nature of this event, all information (including the lettering) was printed with a spot silver colour on a flat black layer – except for the 35 participants list. Thanks to the great opacity of the silver ink, everything vanishes at night once the backlit shelter functions. Only the main title and the complete list of artists remains legible.”
At the other end of the scale, its Activity Report for the Hermes Foundation shows a considered but varied approach to printed matter. “We were able to win the consultation thanks to subtle details such as a coloured thread for the binding of a book, the use of a wide range of different papers in a single publication, a specific spot colour on a pulp coloured paper, an unexpected use of a folding system etc,” says Anna. Atelier Tout va bien also went one step further from its initial consultation, adding in “typographic twists” that are like pull quotes that snake across the page as well as a number of features specific to the brand.
Working as a pair, the duo values the strength of the community right now in France. “It definitely seems that the French graphic design scene is doing very well at the moment,” says Mathias, going on to mention the multitude of new typographers emerging. “This type design vitality has offered to graphic designers what seems to be a growing awareness of fonts, and also a special never-ending font feed. We ourselves have never designed a complete font, and perhaps will never have the opportunity to do so, but this extraordinary diversity already offers us so many new ‘tools’ to pick and play with.”
With just the two of them working, their time is completely taken up by commissioned work, which leaves little time for personal projects. To offset this, the studio ensures that it only accepts projects that they both enjoy, and that provide balance to its output: “In retrospect, we are very convinced that it is important for the health of our studio to preserve a well-balanced report between different kinds of commissioned projects, as we do not have enough time to set up our own,” explains Anna. “There shouldn't be any differences between humble or so to speak ‘smaller’ tasks and ‘bigger’ staged, commissioned projects.”
GalleryAtelier Tout va bien
Poster, leaflet and brochure, for Nuit Blanche Mayenne, Le Kiosque, 2019 Mayenne
About the Author
Charlie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in December 2019. He has previously worked at Monocle 24, and The Times following an MA in International Journalism at City University. If you have any ideas for stories and work to be featured then get in touch.