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La FĂȘte du Graphisme

At the inaugural edition of La Fête du Graphisme in Paris, we look at the Dutch designers invited to show their work at this multi-faceted festival. 

By Katie Dominy / 20-02-2014

For six weeks in January and February, various venues around Paris, such as Les Docks – Cité de la Mode et du Design, La Gaîté lyrique, La Bibliothèque Nationale de France and l’Institut français de la Mode were host to a series of exhibitions, workshops and talks aimed at both the design professionals and students, as well as a wider public. 

The wider public play an important part in this story as the overriding message in the festival’s manifesto is one of ‘democratising’ the graphic design we see around us every day on billboards and in magazines – each piece of graphic work should be important and considered. In light of this, the most public-facing part of the festival was entitled Célébrer Paris in which the city commissioned forty posters from well-respected graphic artists from around the world and displayed them on nearly 1600 outdoor billboards over the six week run, including two weeks exposure on Paris’s Avenue des Champs-Élysées. spoke with the festival’s head Michel Bouvet, a Paris-based graphic designer of note and curator and organiser of many exhibitions globally. We asked Bouvet about the Dutch designers invited to create posters for Célébrer Paris - Anthon Beeke and Studio Boot. 

“Anton Beeke is the one of the great figures in Dutch graphic design. His theatre posters have made a lasting impression across the whole world.” And Studio Boot? “I would say that currently Studio Boot is one of the most inventive studios in the Netherlands. They are masters of freedom in typography.” 

Studio Boot, alias Petra Janssen and Edwin Vollebergh, created a poster entitled ‘Uncle William’s cat.’ Vollebergh told us: “We used the text: Paris C'est le Par(ad)is by French writer Jules Renard and made it an homage to an old Dutch song 'De kat van ome Willem’ (Uncle William’s cat), a story about a cat that went to Paris for seven days.” 

We asked Vollebergh his opinion of the festival: “We met a lot of other designers; famous ones such as Ralph Schraivogel and Michel Bouvet and many more. It is always good to get to know the people whose work you know so well. The show is enormous; a lot of great posters in a big room on a nice place on the banks of the Seine. It's good to see these posters in a city like Paris where you don't get to see a lot of good graphic design in the streets. We hope this will lead to many more graphic events.” 

The posters Vollebergh refers to above formed part of the largest exhibition in the festival, Paris invite le Monde, in which 104 graphic designers were showcased at Les Docks – Cité de la Mode et du Design. Anthon Beeke and Studio Boot were joined here by six fellow Dutch designers Studio DumbarHarmen LiemburgRené KnipMax KismanRichard Niessen of Niessen & de Vries and Zeloot.

We asked Bouvet of his opinion of Dutch graphic design: “There is undoubtedly a Dutch style in graphic design. Typography occupies a prominent position: it is both extremely mastered and very free. The teaching of graphic design in the Netherlands has produced remarkable results: the text and the image are emphasized. There are countless talented designers in the Netherlands.”


1 - Célébrer Paris, 2014. Studio Boot, commissioned by la Ville de Paris for Célébrer Paris, © Studio Boot

2 - Célébrer Paris, Avenue des Champs-Élysées

3  - Paris invite le Monde, Les Docks – Cité de la Mode et du Design

4 - Harmen Liemburg, poster for Kunst Hochschule, Cassel, Germany, numbered edition impression 84 x 120 cm, 2010.

5 - Zeloot, poster for Galerie West, La Hague, 2013.