French graphic designer Clément Gicquel defied odds when he decided to pursue a creative career. Clément grew up in a small town in Brittany where art and culture weren’t exactly top of the agenda. “To be honest, I don’t have any idea as to what directed me down a creative path during my years growing up,” the French designer tells It’s Nice That. Having graduated from ECAL only last June 2017, Clément has already freelance art directed at top studios such as Jonathan Hares and Ill-studio. This, in turn, has led the young creative to accumulate an impressive portfolio across diverse a range of disciplines from music to architecture to sportswear.
Finders Keepers Leaders is Clément’s accomplished diploma project. The publication explores a clash of legal texts regarding the future of space resources; one argues for the pacification of space – at least for the next 50 years – while the other urges an international scramble for resources. “I had read an article about Luxembourg’s liberal position regarding the Economic Space Race. This little piece of paper was how my project started. The news raised a lot of contemporary questions about acceleration and common property. It made me question the meaning of progress. I also had to consider how to approach a subject that sits somewhere between fiction and reality,” the young designer explains. Clément’s publication is both a re-interpretation of the legal texts as well as the reactions and conversations that surround them. The book’s images may be of cosmic landscapes, yet the publication itself is more focused on humanity’s obsession with economic optimisation and, by extension, greed. One spread, for example, focuses on the possible – and speculative – benefits that unexplored areas could yield.
“My project is divided into three part; Finders, Keepers and Leaders. Two chapters refer to the legal texts’ two opposing ideologies. I often compare them to twin brothers. One brother is more emotional and the other crafty. One brother is worried about others, while the other thinks of himself,” Clément says. The designer drew most of his inspiration from magazines and newspapers from the 1970s because of their “systematic way of treating information". These influences are manifested in Clément’s preference for a type-heavy book with its stark contrast between the bold, black font and the white backdrop. The blunt, clear and unadorned content plays on the economic, political and legal information that drives the Space Race conflict and therefore lies art the heart of the project.
The final part of the book addresses the technological race that has come about as a result of nations’ greed for resources. The quick accumulation of information and the speed with which data is received and processed is just as central to Clément’s interest as the Space Race itself. “Information is accelerating and can easily become abstract. The space race is leading to an archeological dig for electronic and digital devices that can aid in the competition for spatial resources.”