Conversation with Ludovic Balland
Your background is in Geneva, so why did you choose to settle in Basel?
The German-speaking part of Switzerland has a more strongly developed typographic culture than French-speaking Switzerland. Even though things are now fortunately changing, when I was doing my training there were only a handful of graphic design studios and they were located in Basel and Zurich.
What is the most important aspect of your work?
“Typography and photography, both are about writing stories: one with letters and the other with images.”
The typographer’s reality is the printed word, he is the one who translates spoken language into writing. He is the abstract witness of history. A photographer is a concrete witness of our reality. Both these parameters fascinate me, and this was the idea behind my attempts to create dynamic and pictorial alphabets – meaning considering the alphabet as a film sequence with 26 images. According to the word thus composed, I create another composition, another visual.
To simplify things, I might say I am interested in the visual potential of typography. The link between a letter and an image or between a word and a visual is actually something we establish on a daily basis. Just think of short message and multimedia message services. These days an image is a means of underscoring a word. In concrete terms, I work in editorial design and in designing fonts. The book is the medium that links text and images.
What do you think about the current state of the graphic design scene in Switzerland?
“Switzerland harbours a wealth of diversity in terms of the various approaches to the graphic design scene and maintains an excellent level – possibly comparable to that of the Netherlands.”
Over the past ten years we have achieved a new position in the new generation of young designers. There is a new independence and it’s extremely creative. Likewise, the state provides exemplary support for culture and thereby brings our work within reach of the public at large.
PHOTO CREDIT:1. Ludovic Balland - Poster of the “5th Berlin Biennale”, Courtesy of Ludovic Balland Design office, 2. Ludovic Balland Design office – Photography by Fuyumi Namioka
November 18, 2008