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Q&A Violaine & Jérémy

On 1 June 2024, the Now24 conference will take place in Paris. On that day, more than a dozen graphic design lecturers, art directors and type designers are expected. Join to attend talks by international speakers around graphic design, web design, motion design, publishing, visual identity, communication and type design. If not already done, register now to take advantage of the best rates.

It seemed interesting to us to make you discover the profiles of our guests. Discover Violaine & Jérémy’s interview.

Biography Violaine & Jérémy Founded by creative partners Orsoni and Schneider, the design studio is known for its sophisticated and inviting aesthetic. By cultivating a sensitive, artistic, and detail-oriented approach, the studio aims to deliver a work of excellence made to last.
Over the years, we built a bright constellation of multidisciplinary talents that surrounds us: designers, illustrators, typographers, animators, painters, creative coders, photographers, scenographers, printers…
VJ-Type is an independent type foundry based in Paris, born from Violaine & Jérémy’s creative studio. The foundry focuses on the design of strong, peculiar typefaces and always strives for elegant, perfectly balanced work.

Interview

Do you prefer a permanent/dedicated workspace, separate from home or at home?

Violaine & Jérémy Definitely a dedicated workspace. During Covid we were forced to work remotely and that experience made it very clear that we don’t like it. There are several reasons for this.

Spontaneity: we lose an enormous amount of time and productivity on projects because we’re not together with the team. Being together allows us to share ideas very spontaneously. Working remotely doesn’t allow for spontaneity, which is a problem when your job is to be creative.  Fluid communication: understanding each other, debriefing and brainstorming from a distance is difficult. Because it has to be concise and direct, written professional communication loses all the subtleties of oral language. When it comes to aesthetics, details of form, graphic compositions, colours, everything is highly subjective. That’s why we need fluidity, the ability to say one thing and then another, and contradict ourselves the next minute, without losing the other person. This is not possible at a distance or in writing. And finally, management : being a good manager is already hard enough. We can’t imagine managing properly for a distance.

Have your work habits changed after the pandemic?

Violaine & Jérémy Not at all.

Favorite kind of music to listen to while working?

Violaine & Jérémy It’s very eclectic. We listen to music, podcasts and talk shows. We change depending on the activity. The studio is almost never quiet. But it’s not noisy either. It’s a very calm atmosphere, with sound always playing in the background.

What do you do to evade yourself from work?

Violaine & Jérémy Each year, we organise our schedule so that we can travel for at least 4 weeks at a time, and sometimes more. For example, in 2022, we spent August and September travelling around the north-west of the United States. We didn’t work at all during this period.
On a more day-to-day basis, we try to do sport 3 times a week and we’ve also started to learn guitar and singing.

“The energy of the city encourages you to be active and ambitious in your work.”
– Violaine & Jérémy

What drives you to create new typefaces?

Violaine & Jérémy Pleasure.

Do you ever feel “too comfortable” in your work?

Violaine & Jérémy It’s been 12 years since we set up the studio and we’ve never felt comfortable in our work. It’s a feeling we’ve never experienced. We are completely driven by the desire to produce work that is rich, detailed, elegant, delicate and of excellent quality. We demand this of ourselves. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to find meaning in our work. That’s why every project is a new and difficult challenge. It always requires a major creative effort on our part to achieve our goal. Nothing is ever easy, nor is it innate.

Are you rather one of those who draw or redraw type classics?

Violaine & Jérémy The truth is that we don’t have an academic background in type design on our CVs. Jérémy didn’t learn type design at school or from a typographer. No one has ever asked him to reinterpret an existing typeface. He is 100% self-taught. So it’s only natural that he tends to create new forms. We thrive more on experimentation, on creating an aesthetic.

You’re based in Paris, in very lively neighborhood, how it helps creativity and inspiration?

Violaine & Jérémy The energy of the city encourages you to be active and ambitious in your work. We’re surrounded by people who are each more talented than the last, each in their own field. It’s very motivating. It encourages us to be very demanding and to push ourselves to always produce quality work.

Your typefaces seem to work as own identities with a dedicated universe. Can you explain to us the reasons for this way of process?

Violaine & Jérémy First and foremost, we do it for fun. Typography is our creative breathing space. We have no client, no brief, no deadline. Just the desire to make a project for ourselves. And of course, since we’re both typographers and graphic designers, this desire applies to the typeface and specimen design. Even though this was never the motivation, over time we realised that there was a commercial virtue to creating a visual universe. Among the hundreds of typefaces that are released every year, it allows us to stand out and highlight our work. It inspires users, sometimes too much for some. There’s no denying that presenting each typeface in a strong graphic universe can create a breeding ground for imitation. But we’re not going to stop ourselves from doing what we like because some users lack imagination and can’t get away from our designs. That would be a double punishment for us. But above all, we also see a lot of applications that are completely unrelated to our graphic universe, and that’s the most fun to discover.

Why did you want to launch a foundry in parallel with your career as a graphic designer with already a strong personal imprint? Some graphic designers who design typefaces prefer to keep them for themselves as a signature. Are you rather on the side of those who share?

Violaine & Jérémy We did it naively. It was the pleasure of making something that gave birth to the foundry. We came up with the idea because a lot of our followers on the internet were asking us where to get our fonts. We seized the opportunity. We had no expectations. In our minds, it was a side project that would benefit the studio by enabling it to consolidate and legitimise a top-of-the-range image thanks to new, cutting-edge expertise. It was also an exciting challenge. We had to structure and develop a completely messy, nascent skill. So yes, you could say that we made part of our graphic signature available and accessible. But this signature isn’t limited to typography. And moreover, it evolves and develops over time. In any case, it doesn’t matter if your tools are made available to others. Once you decide to show your work publicly, whether you like it or not, it’s a way of sharing it.

“Nothing is ever easy, nor is it innate.”
– Violaine & Jérémy

Do you have words of wisdom for young practitioners?

Violaine & Jérémy Show only the projects you’re sure of and proud of, and chances are your future clients/employers will come looking for what you LOVE to do and not just for what you CAN do.

What is the message you want to convey during your talk at Now24?

Violaine & Jérémy We’ll be talking mainly about the relationship between the creative studio and the foundry. How the 2 activities feed and respond to each other.

Thank you very much, Violaine & Jérémy!

– Interview by Jean-Baptiste Pernette

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February 12, 2024
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