Musée d'Orsay

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Posted by Sadie

Filed Under: Design, Strategy

Tags: , , , ,


This week, AIGA hosted legendary typographer and poster designer, Bruno Monguzzi, who spoke about some of the challenges and highlights of his venerable career.

Several of the stories Monguzzi illustrated were strikingly similar in their object lessons – disobey when necessary. To demonstrate, he walked the audience through the origin of a poster for the Musée d’Orsay, the Paris art museum for which he designed the famous logo.

Called in by the director in a panic after a failed poster competition for the museum’s opening, Monguzzi was given one rule – no images. All of the previous posters had been rejected because they used images from the collection or images of the building itself, neither of which the museum wanted to highlight. They wanted the poster to have just two elements, the logo and the date of the opening.

But although he tried, it wasn’t working. And after flipping through a Lartigue photograph book and coming across a photo of a plane taking off, Monguzzi knew it was the right solution. As is often the case, convincing the client was another matter.

At Beardwood&Co., one of our company values is bravery. That often takes the form of standing up and presenting the right solution even if it isn’t specifically what was asked for. It’s not always easy and certainly not always successful.

We don’t do this because we believe we know better than the client. We do it because we know the conversation is always valuable, whether we take the forbidden path or not. Due diligence means testing the boundaries.

In the case of the poster, the client eventually agreed with Monguzzi that the photograph, as it was used, was right. Much like flying itself, sometimes the solution defies the known rules. Laws of gravity, laws of design – these laws are made to be broken.


2 Responses to “Flying”

  1. Julia says:

    Hey Sadie:

    I love this example of bravery in action. We all know that bravery means that you are shot at, and that’s what makes it scary…but life isn’t fun unless you take a stand for what you believe.

    Nice job!


  2. Ryan says:

    I love this because it demonstrates that what the client asks for is not always the right answer. While we usually need to deliver the request, it’s what they really need that pushes boundaries and takes guts. Thanks for the reminder.

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