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Work / Graphic Design

Corentin Corneau gives “strength and substance to images and text” through editorial design

Specialising in editorial design, whether in the form of a publication or a poster, Corentin Corneau’s work places archiving at its heart. Working with found photography, video stills and texts, the French designer’s portfolio explores the possibilities of print: “shaping, ranking, cutting and publishing,” in order to “give strength and substance to images and text.”

Currently attending ESAD in Amiens, in northern France, Corentin discovered his chosen creative medium the same way many others do: through a love of album artwork. “My first contact with graphic design was the cover of New Order’s album, Power, Corruption and Lies designed by Peter Saville. I discovered it in my father’s library and I realised that without having listened to the album, I was already a fan,” he tells It’s Nice That. “Then I came across the cover of Monochrome Set’s Strange Boutique, also designed by Peter Saville, and I thought to myself ‘okay, show me nothing else, I’ve found what I want to do’,” he recalls.

Looking at Corentin’s portfolio as a whole, a clear visual language is recognisable. Often monochromatic, his designs lead with an image which is then balanced and complemented by his astute use of text. For example, in a recent project titled We’ve Had a Problem, pages are occupied by square photographs, to which context is given via captions, all presented in a regular and pleasing system of grids.

Realised in 24 hours, and in collaboration with Evan Boullonnois, We’ve Had a Problem exploits this grid system in a somewhat ironic fashion due to the book’s content. The publication brings together a series of photographs which were considered useless during Project Apollo because of their poor exposure or lack of focus. “We are both big space exploration fans, but it felt pretty uninteresting to use the iconic cliches of the Apollo missions,” Corentin explains. “On the contrary, we thought it would be fun to use the ‘useless’ ones, especially as the need for accuracy and perfectionism of the Apollo missions didn’t leave room for any mistakes: the stakes were too high.”

By incorporating these disused images, Corentin and Evan highlight the human element and, as a result, the room for error in these missions; an element that is mirrored in the medium of print. “[Print] because of its length of production has a lot of human mistakes,” Corentin adds, “and I rather like that aspect. Everything isn’t too neat or perfect.” This injection of humanity to the perfection of graphic design is echoed throughout Corentin’s work which considers “the actualisation of marks or content” through a variety of printed matter.

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Corentin Corneau and Evan Boullonnois: We’ve Had a Problem

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Corentin Corneau