Saturday, 12 December 2009

M/M Paris

I have been researching M/M Paris for the piece I'm currently writing on the state of handmade design and thought i would share my findings. M/M is collaboration between French designers Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustnyiak. They are living proof that as designers you do not necessarily need to define yourself as one kind of graphic designer, be it print, digital or anything else. Their work is instantly recognizable even though they mix the methods of how they work including typography, illustration, photography and even 3D design.

What appeals to me most about the work of M/M is the handmade elements that they introduce into a piece of work. They will add illustrations, tear the paper or even add stickers to the designs. Similar to my own work they aren’t afraid to leave an ink stain on the page. Although these elements are not always the result of a clumsy heavy handed designer like myself knocking over my pot of ink, these elements are often highly considered for aesthetic effect and to give the impression of individuality about a piece of work. When asked about how their work is characterized by the handmade element and ‘mistakes’ and what these aspects mean to them at the design museum exhibition 2003 M/M responded.

“It might look spontaneous or "handmade", but the way it is produced can be very complex, very highly crafted. Maybe it is about life, not pretending to do the impossible, allowing the mistakes to show. However, we’re however not sure this is an issue.”

Personally I think adding ‘mistakes’ for aesthetic effect detracts from the purity of a design. I like to see the hand of the designer in a piece and I think consciously adding this removes the authenticity of a piece of design. The again I’m not working for the likes of Calvin Klein and Stella McCartney and as much as they appear the free-spirited designer types unconcerned as to the reaction a piece of their work receives they obviously know what puts bread on the table and know how to replicate this sense of ‘individuality’ these clients are searching for.


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