Interview with Paul Bouigue:
Sport 2 Racket
For the cover of form 275 on the theme of sport we have been able to make use of the work of Toulouse-based Paul Bouigue. The visuals came out of work on a racket sports fanzine at the École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD) in Paris. The graphic design student tells us about the development of the experimental zine on ping pong and similar sports and also which topics and themes – aside from the bizarre everyday situations, which he records in his notebook – drive him artistically.
How did the project “Sport 2 Racket” come about?
“Sport 2 Racket” started as a collaborative project together with a friend, but was open to new input from people around us contributing with illustrations, texts or recommendations for the concept of the magazine. We wanted to create a fanzine exploring fields often forgotten and interacting in a useful but also humoristic way with the reader. We came up with the idea by mixing things we were into at this time, which is why the booklet deals with racket sports. At the moment I’m planning to work on more issues focused on different topics, always working on new ways of visualisation, generating other techniques and styles.
What got you into illustration?
I’ve always liked illustration, since my childhood, and I’m referring to it a lot since it’s something I feel nostalgic about. In general, I don’t want to repeat myself, that’s why I’m trying various techniques, various processes and various ideas. That’s hard to keep up with because when you feel you can master one, you have to look for something different.
Which media do you prefer to work with?
I like to explore different media every time I start a new project, even if I have my favourite ones. I work with open-source software, but mostly with paper and coloured pencils, pens, felt pens. Then I try different styles and I look for images I like in books.
For a while I was quite stuck using the same software for everything. Now I approach things differently, I’m more into the field of do-it-yourself, I like to experiment with music, sound, atmospheres, and with code. There are a lot of possibilities to complete a project or to materialise an idea, and I like to be aware of them all. Experimenting is my favourite part, that’s probably why I don’t complete that much projects. Open-source software is influential, but you don’t use it as easy as you use Adobe software for example. Scribus is the open-source alternative for Indesign, and even if it’s not yet as powerful, you know why you use it, and that’s the most important part.
Graphic designers are not much into this culture. We have built a world of images using Instagram and similar platforms, and not a world in which images are precious, you have to make them and consume them. I’m not saying that it’s bad, I just think you have to be aware of that when you create things. Now we need people to make the two worlds converge, to bring new tools and new ways to question what we are doing.
Are there any techniques you would like to acquire?
We invent a lot of techniques everyday, I wish I was more into these new techniques to create things. I like when you don’t master the final result, so artificial intelligence and machine learning are a great way to explore stochastic imagery.
Which fields other than design fascinate you and what do you think you learn from them professionally?
Like I already said, I’m fascinated by the free culture movement and programming, which are probably the fields I’d like to contribute to in the future. I’m also fascinated by the social impact of graphic design: we are not here to create for a few people but to have a positive impact on the transmission of knowledge in the public domain. This should be the main question for all graphic designers which are at the moment mostly concerned with making great visual artefacts and not into making powerful messages or useful and social design.
Tell us something about design graphique libre.
“Design graphique libre” is not my project, but it’s something I refer to as a principle. It stands for free graphic design, it’s a text written by Etienne Ozeray on how we could have a different approach to our practice as graphic designers by contributing to a free culture, by making our own software and ignoring the market. I like this project a lot, my practice has grown with this text and it’s something I want to contribute to now.