For Lyon-based graphic design studio Bureau Bertrand Clément the process of designing something has to be fun. This is an ethos the studio applies to a multitude of projects, from art directing record labels to building an identity for a shop or even designing clothes. The studio’s ability to create a cheerful design language is refreshing and an attribute founder Clément Bertrand admits may be because “we always make fun of ourselves and don’t take it too seriously,” he tells It’s Nice That.
One project where this design ethos is most obvious is Clément’s work for BFDM, a record label founded in friendship. Set up by one of the designer’s closest pals Judaah, across its 17 releases the label promotes the work of creatives in its friendship group. The tight bond between friends is then visualised in Clément’s art direction, using track titles and sleeve designs to communicate how “pretty much everything is made of private jokes”. The studio’s choice of photographs on record sleeves displays this too, using candid snaps such as one artist cheekily sipping on wine or another posing in front of a Citroen car.
Bureau Bertrand Clément continues its tongue-in-cheek approach in its work for other music outlets too, including Chez Emile, a record store and distribution company also based in Lyon. Where other record shops tend to lean towards creating an ultra cool typographic logo, the design studio have visualised the store as a laid-back smiling bean. This sweet bean character makes appearances across the Chez Emile’s printed ephemera from business cards and posters to gift vouchers, and in its cheerful personality (regularly making a peace sign) creates the impression of a friendly shop you want to go and visit.
More recent work by the studio continues its fondness for music-related design, particularly in its art direction for Tunnel Vision Records. As a reissue label, Tunnel Vision attempts to give a listener as much information as possible on the record they’ve purchased. Rather than just containing an LP to listen to, each release is more of a document “including photographs, interviews and collages of that time which they’ve kindly shared with us,” Clément explains. In turn, the studio uses this archive imagery at the forefront on record sleeves, but rather than just appearing like an artefact of musical past, Bureau Bertrand Clément’s typography choices place the release firmly in the present.
Aside from musically focused projects, Bureau Bertrand Clément’s design expertise and playful attitude has now also been applied to Reception, a clothing brand made in collaboration with Pierre Boiselle. In true Bureau Bertrand Clement style, each garment not only looks good but has a back story to it, “paying tribute to places with soul”. The studio has begun this by creating merchandise for restaurants it appreciates, “where the food is delicious and where we have shared precious time with friends, colleagues and lovers…”
With a practice firmly rooted in designing something joyfully, Bertrand Bureau Clément have pulled fascinating clients towards them and long may it continue.
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