Studio Pépouze on refusing to choose between graphic design and illustration
- Laura Snoad
- 9 April 2019
When Alice Bottigliero was scouting for an internship just after she’d graduated, the founder of a well known-know Parisian studio (male, obvs) told her in no uncertain terms that she had to make a decision between graphic design and illustration, and that it was stupid to think she could do both. Little did this wisened gent know, but the experience only made her more determined to follow a two-pronged approach and has become the MO of her studio, Studio Pépouze. “My goal was to practice so hard to try to become good at both,” Alice tells It’s Nice That. “I don’t know if I’m there yet, I’m still working hard on it and are still evolving every day.”
Whether a shape-inspired identity for La Fête de la Morue in the town of Bègles or surreal bodily line drawings for textile company Moon, Alice’s work has a hand-drawn, approachable feel that’s friendly and upbeat. “I deeply think that being a good graphic designer is knowing how to talk to everybody, regardless of age, gender, nationality, religion,” she says. “My aim as is to have fun while creating, but to know that people will understand messages and most of all be touched by them.”
This was particularly important when creating a graphic identity for Beats Across Borders, a new series of parties that aim to help refugees mix with French people and bond over a shared love of music. The events are free to newcomers and 100% of the ticket sales from natives goes to providing much-needed food, shelter and French lessons. Alice’s identity was inspired by Matisse’s famous Dance painting and intertwined the celebrants’ limbs through the type, for which she used Polytype’s Roquefort. “It felt good to talk about something important: the fact that we’re all equal and that we all should be able to share, dance and live together supporting each other,” says Alice.
The identity is a good example of what Alice sees as her two main influences, her love of the “rigour” of German design (inherited from her German mother) and the “shapes and colour mastery” of iconic French painters like Matisse and Gaugin. “I love to feel that my style is mixing that influences and origins I inherited and I’m still discovering new ones.” She’s also keen to push what illustration can do, from menus for hotel Relais & Châteaux that explain provenance in a clear and fun way, to creating a calendar that tells people about seasonal eating through augmented reality.
“I love to think that we’re not limited on paper or screen,” says Alice. Some of my drawings have been tattooed, live-drawn on fabrics and engraved them on ceramics. Keeping curious, and experimental is always a way for me to nourish my graphic design practice. I’m not letting it down, on the contrary.”
About the Author
Laura is a London-based arts journalist who has been working for It’s Nice That on a freelance basis since 2016.