Regulars / Ones to Watch 2017

Ones to Watch 2017: graphic designers Spassky Fischer


Rebecca Clarke

It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch is our chance to showcase 12 creatives who we think will be making an impact in 2017. The people featured have been whittled down from a global pool of creative talent and have been chosen for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work. Each one practices across a diverse range of disciplines and continually pushes the boundaries of their creative output. Ones to Watch 2017 is supported by Uniqlo. 

We caught up with each of our Ones to Watch, to talk about their work so far and their hopes for the year to come.

Spassky Fischer is a multidisciplinary studio that was started way back in 2014 by Thomas Petitjean, Antoine Stevenot and Hugo Anglade. The studio has a portfolio of strong design that’s bold, communicative and thoughtfully composed.

Spassky Fischer has carved a niche for itself in the arts and culture sector in France and its client list reflects this. “We have two main clients, Mac Val (Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne) and Mucem (Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée), and they’re very representative of our work,” explains the studio. Spassky Fischer has created work for both museums for several years now, and its identity for Mucem was one of the studio’s stand out projects from last year. The project was demanding and it required an entire rethink of its visual identity. A celebration of the diversity and breadth the museum offers, it demonstrates the team’s ability to refresh a national institution by using a new typeface, design language and colour palette. The studio’s work on the identity is set to continue this year, with the launch of Mucem’s website later on in February.

As part of the identity the team created in-house imagery, and photography is something the whole studio is keen to work more on this year. For Spassky Fischer this feels a lot more achievable now that the team has grown to six designers. “One year ago, we were three people in a really small studio, now we’re six people in much bigger space,” Spassky Fischer explains. “We are trying to work out how to manage all our time, which is tricky. But with more people we can try different things in our work and incorporate the styles and abilities of everyone.”


Spassky Fischer: Muceum


Spassky Fischer: Muceum


Spassky Fischer: Mac Val


Spassky Fischer: Mac Val

One example of where the studio has already been able to push itself is through its work for new client, Arte, a French and German cultural TV channel. “We just started doing some work for them using motion design, which is fairly new for us,” Spassky Fischer explains. “When we do these kinds of different projects, it’s important for us to keep our identity intact. We adopt the same approach as our other projects.” At the moment the team are working on designs and animations for trailers and idents in between programmes but hope it grows into more projects in 2017.

Designing art books and publications is also part of Spassky Fischer’s bread and butter, and we’ve gushed about its editorial designs in the past. Early in 2016, the studio’s book for Flammarion about the writings of Michel Butor demonstrates how the studio continually challenge tradition. Taking a modern approach to the classical subject matter of Western painting, Spassky Fischer created a Mondrian-esque design for the art book. The studio are set to create more arts-based publications in the future with a monograph for American artist Mike Nelson set to launch later this year.

The studio hope to continue working on as many projects as it did last year, which is ultimately its biggest challenge through increasing its client base. With all of its clients based in France, Spassky Fischer wants to explore design in other countries like Germany, the UK and other European hubs, where there’s a “big interest in graphic design.” This ambition is not just geographically linked but the team is also keen to broaden the scope of work it currently creates.

“At the moment we only do cultural work, and we know for many people that’s the dream situation, but for us we’d love to add in more commercial client to our portfolio,” the studio explains. Reeling off names like Nike, Adidas and Michelin, Spassky Fischer feels big brands could lead to all sorts of opportunities and exposure. “We would like to experience working at that kind of scale, and see what it would be like to work with such a big client as a fairly small studio. It could be an interesting result.”


Spassky Fischer: Classeur


Spassky Fischer: Classeur


Spassky Fischer: Classeur

Supported by Uniqlo

The idea at the heart of all of Uniqlo’s clothing is LifeWear – clothes that make your life better. Style doesn’t have to be superficial; it can keep you warmer, cooler, drier. Uniqlo creates LifeWear by evolving the ordinary, producing innovations big and small that benefit you every day.