Interview with Emmanuel Crivelli, designer of DORADE magazine

Salâm! 你好! Hello!

Next one in the row: the freshly translated interview (voici la version française) with the talented Mr. Emmanuel Crivelli, designer of Paris-based magazine DORADE, the «revue galante, photographie et form critique» founded and edited by Philippe Jarrigeon and Sylvain Menétrey.

This interview will be part of the next volume of Better Mjstakes, which will be a «magazine about magazines» (or how they describe it in Liner Notes — the brilliant book about books — «a self-reflexion in the medium»).

Let’s dive in …

Hi Emmanuel, please tell us about your background and what you are doing at the moment.
I obtained my diploma in visual communication/graphic design at ECAL (École cantonale d’art de Lausanne) in 2008, where I’m currently teaching. After finishing my studies I was hired by ECAL as graphic designer and I had the chance to work on exhibition catalogues and signage systems for the EPFL+ECAL Lab, visual identity projects, annual reports, and the school’s journal. Before I started my own studio I collaborated for several projects with other designers such as Maxime Buechi, Jonathan Hares, Ludovic Balland, …

Since one year now I’m responsible for the design of Dorade, working also on other projects with Philippe Jarrigeon (editor-in-chief with Sylvain Menétrey), such as the new communication design for the ARTPARIS fair which will takes place in the Grand Palais. Besides, I’m working for several artists and photographers.

What fascinates you about your profession? And why graphic design?
Conceptualising and translating an idea visually with a certain logic. The technique, the limits of printing. The exchange you can have with a client and the subject of his work.

How do you start when working on a new issue of Dorade?
For Dorad we are discussing a lot about the next steps and I’m trying to make up myself a complete overview in order to have a broader idea of the hierarchy between the different subjects to understand the fil de la narration.

The graphical system of Dorade seems very complex. Could you explain us more about the concept behind and how it was created?
The starting point is always the tone, the atmosphere Philippe and Sylvain want to give the magazine. A tone which is a bit surreal in the way the texts relate and link to each other. It is the intention to reunite the texts through the pages which are opening the “chapters” which produce sort of an absurd text weaving the links of the different articles together. Also I wanted to retranscribe the interviews with the idea to visualize the different characters of the discussion. These aesthetics and typographic hierarchies normally appear rather in books because of the quantity and the different styles of texts you find in Dorade.
As a matter of fact there is a certain complexity but also a simplicity in the amount of styles used, in this second issue we have interviews, essays, the notes/caption and the translations with just the one limitation which is the number of sizes used in the texts. The typographic system becomes an image, an identity of the magazine.

How important are limitations in your process?
Either of economic or constructive nature they help a lot to simplify and clarify. But I’m given a lot of freedom.

What is your procedure when you receive material for a new story to layout?
Mostly I start with reading the texts to understand comprehend the voice in order to see how to transcribe it typographically and which status I’m giving the images. Right now, with the second issue, the overall design starts to be more defined but there are always going to be new ideas and solutions to propose.

When designing, do you imagine/think of a certain kind of reader? Or do you have a certain person in mind while designing?
When I’m designing something I always want the reader to read and understand — but not necessarily savor it. Whatever place you are in the magazine I want that one always knows where he/she is. Thus it’s mainly a question of readability but also knowing that the people are not dull.

What I find particularly interesting is how you are designing the interviews. (I saw this method before in an old copy of Avalanche — was that your original inspiration?) Can you tell us more about it your idea behind your interview designs?
No, Avalanche was not a reference and I have to admit that I didn’t know it by now. Like I said it really was my intention to present the protagonists in the space and the rhythm of the interview.

Which other magazines — contemporary or from the past — have/had an influence on you, both graphically and conceptually?
Speaking of graphic design I’m rather inspired by books both old and now, always in regard of the voice I want to give the current issue. Regarding other magazines they are more like references on how to place Dorade in between them, their structures, their way of using images, how they treat a certain topic, the binding, the papers … for the choice of the main typeface I was influenced by publications on Dada and Futurism …

What are your future plans regarding work and life?
I’m having my own studio since a couple months now. But I’m looking forward to travel and discover new things, new impressionss and I would like to deepen my know-how in the field of visual identity. I want to meet new people and — above all — have fun.

Thank you, Emmanuel!