Philippe Apeloig

Abstract type or not?

graphic design (lecture)
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Philippe Apeloig

Philippe Apeloig is an influential French graphic designer. His approach to a given assignment, whether it is a poster, logotype, or font, shows an impressive amount of both thoughtfulness and understanding of the subject matter at hand. His typographic solutions are skillfully crafted and demonstrate great attention to detail. He always aims to get the maximum effect with the minimum of means. Apeloig is a master of typographic interpretation. His work is idea-oriented and process driven. He can thoughtfully play with words and images in order to transmit concepts that are aesthetically appealing, perfectly balanced, and intelligent.


“Most of the time I start from a text, from typography and I continue with images. I use the editing techniques from film editing. I carve my ideas into pieces and then reassemble them in a different order. I manipulate them until the composition is right and it is strong enough to fix itself in the visual memory of the public.

When you read a text most of the time it’s very static – you don’t even look at the shape of the letters, you consider the meaning – but one of the goals of the designer is to make text appear spectacular, like a show that really catches your eye.

The challenge is to be persuasive: like an actor who convinces the audience to suspend disbelieving. He has to interpret his role so vividly that he and his character become one.”

Philippe Apeloig


Philippe Apeloig was born in Paris in 1962 and studied at the École Supérieure des Arts Appliqués Duperré and the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD). After two transformative internships at Total Design in Amsterdam, he was hired as a graphic designer at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris in 1985.

In 1987, after receiving a scholarship from the French Foreign Ministry, Apeloig left the Orsay and moved to Los Angeles to study and work with April Greiman. In 1993, he won a fellowship at the French Academy in Rome, where he researched and designed typefaces; his font October, created at the Villa Medici, garnered the 1995 Tokyo Type Directors Club’s Gold Award. In 1997, Apeloig became a design consultant for the Louvre, then six years later, its art director, a post he held until 2008.

From 1992 to 1998, Apeloig taught typography in Paris at ENSAD. While teaching part-time at the Rhode Island School of Design in the U.S., he applied for and was appointed full-time professor of graphic design at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. He began his new post in 1999, then was made him curator of the School’s Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography in 2000. He held the dual post until 2003, when he returned to Paris to run his own studio.

In 2009 he won the Gold Award from the ISTD (International Society of Typographic Designers) in London for a series of posters he designed for the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

Apeloig is currently working for Hermès, several cultural institutions, galleries and publishers including Phaidon. He is a longstanding member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale.

Portfolio

Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig

Picture report

Photos © Antonello Di Pinto

Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig
Designfriends - Philippe Apeloig