Formidable: communication design from France

Every year, more than 70 nations participate in the Red Dot Award. This proves that good design is a worldwide business. In order to assess the quality of these multinational projects in a thorough manner, they must be assessed from a global perspective: The respective cultural background of the entries and the specifics of their target markets need to be taken into account during decision making. This is why the Red Dot Jury consists of international experts. With more than 30 years of experience in communication design, Sylvia Vitale Rotta will be a juror in 2018, representing the French perspective.

Sylvia Vitale Rotta: Red Dot expert from France
For the third time, Sylvia Vitale Rotta is a part of the jury of the Red Dot Award: Communication Design. She is President and CEO of Team Créatif Group. In 2017, she was the first woman to be awarded Knight status (Chevalier) of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour for her merits in graphic design. Sylvia Vitale Rotta says about design from her adopted nation: “What characterises French design is the emotion, obviously the very strong food appeal and the elegance. French design also manages to bring out distinctive assets of the brand and has a long life, quiet a long life on the shelf, which makes it quiet contemporary.”

“Schizophrenia” in design
French designers, agencies and companies prove their excellent design quality in the Red Dot Award on a regular basis. In 2017, among others, the agency W&Cie convinced the Red Dot Jury with a well-conceived, yet unusual approach to address customers of AccorHotels. In order to win over the complex and eclectic target group of millennials, who tend to associate hotels with boredom, AccorHotels invented a new breed of hospitality: JO&JOE, a hybrid place in between a bar, restaurant, hostel, apartment and concert hall. The new brand has a “schizophrenic personality” with two ways of seeing the world, of travelling, of partying.

This is also reflected in the visual appearance, which is both refreshing and versatile. In order to stage the various aspects of the location, the designers from W&Cie played with the stylistic device of contradiction respectively complementarity. Fuelled with witty catchphrases, the brand design adapts to each city and enthuses with its unconventional character which assures attention.

Creator of conviviality
Likewise originating from W&Cie is the annual report “Mindset”, which recapitulates the year 2015/2016 of the French wine and spirit company Pernod Ricard. The report is dedicated to the brand promise of being a “creator of conviviality”. In this regard, the African mindset is in the focus. It is staged by the Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop. With photos of the company’s African collaborators, the imagery illustrates the richness of urban Africa and highlights the company’s strategic targets for the future.

The overall layout stands out due to its geometric patterns and creates a suitable framework for each individual photo through the use of extensive areas of colour. Images have always played an important role in French graphic design and are frequently at the center of designs. Like “Mindset” shows, this lends a work an artistic level. The use of photos lets the Red Dot awarded annual report appear more personal and emotional.

Using light and shadow skilfully
Communication design from France is also convincing with moving images. For cosmetics company Sisley Paris, Sylvain Borgarino designed a commercial for the release of “Phyto-Touche”. In order to introduce the sun glow powder range and highlight the sun-tanned look it promises, only natural light was used. The spot documents the change of light and shadow during the day and magnifies the effect of the powder’s wave design.

The video, which was awarded a Red Dot, was published on the brand’s website and across social media. Moreover, it was shown in stores. It puts a spotlight on the added value of the product, creates a special atmosphere for the betrayer and adresses the consumer at an emotional level.

Lacoste without a crocodile
Recently, French agency BETC showed courage and creativity by displacing Lacoste’s famous crocodile logo. For the polo collection “LACOSTE X SAVE OUR SPECIES”, it was replaced by ten threatened species. The number of the already sold out garments corresponded to the number of individuals of the respective species known to remain in the wild, among them 30 Vaquitas, 67 Java Rhinos and 450 Anegada Ground Iguanas. The proceeds were donated to the animal welfare organisation International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The design approach depicts that French designers push boundaries again and again, explore new avenues and do not think in clichés. Lacoste without crocodile? No problem for BETC. The abstraction of the well-known logo, respectively showing it in a changed but nonetheless recognisable form, challenges the betrayer and ensures a surprise effect.

Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2018
In 2018 again, designers, agencies and companies from France and around the world can enter their design and creative projects in the Red Dot Award: Communication Design. Final deadline for registration is 15 June.

» More information about the Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2018