Inspired by music and culture | 音樂和文化的靈感爆發

(Chinese follows at the bottom)

Michael Sallit & Lyon Street Food Festival

Michael Sallit & Lyon Street Food Festival

Michael Sallit is a Frenchman from Dijon (famous for its mustard, he points out) who is currently making a living in Paris. Drawing inspiration from his background as a music fan, Michael aims to create graphic design that is enjoyable for everyone – just like the vinyl sleeves he grew up with. “Graphic design for graphic designers” is not this self-taught artist’s style – in fact, he doesn’t even like to refer to himself as an artist!

Graduating from high school, Michael had no idea what his profession would be. During his masters – Cultural Affairs – he managed a festival with his classmates and got a chance to produce concert posters. Finally, all the obscure 70’s album art, computer tinkering and other different cultural and graphical expressions he’d been exposed to could be put into a creative process. Graphic design was to be his calling.

“It’s not an easy thing to do every day. I’m scared of the blank sheet of paper because I have to attain something presentable, something that’s pleasant to see and also comprehensible. I must constantly be creative and try to find new ideas while remaining to a global aesthetic,” he says.

Michael Sallit & Lyon Street Food Festival

Michael Sallit & Lyon Street Food Festival

“The most important thing is to create a unity between visuals, typography, and the response to the commission,” he added. “I am interested in the capacity of spaces to act as vessels for storytelling and collective imagination – I think it is stories in spaces, not the spaces themselves, that shape human experience.”

Although he tries to avoid projects that do not inspire him, Michael is not afraid of trying things that are outside his personal interests. “It is very motivating since it takes me out of my comfort zone, but I must admit that I try to avoid projects with too many constraints from the sponsors. Like ‘change type,’ ‘make it bigger…’”

Michael’s dream project comes from his musician alter ego: to design a graphic identity for a label including all the record sleeves to create a coherent set.

When asked what his next target is, Michael says he’s inspired by the pure essence of graphic design and the way the visual information can evoke an emotion, promote a dialogue and have an impact on those that interact with it. “So the next target will be to go further in this respect, but the most important thing for me is to be humble in my work. I have no artistic pretensions; I just want my work to please the greatest number!”

Lyon Street Food Festival

Michael Sallit & Lyon Street Food Festival

Michael Sallit & Lyon Street Food Festival

Hosting a street food festival is hardly a new concept these days. However, two things stood out to inspire Michael for this A-Z commission (from plastic cups to metro ads). Firstly, the organisers emphasised that they definitely did not want the standard “photos of smiling chefs and fresh vegetables” imagery. Graphical illustration of the dishes itself, instead, was suggested. Secondly, the theme of the festival was the more exotic “Hong Kong” – or French Michelin chef’s version of Hong Kong, at least!

Michael responded by illustrating a number of typical Asian dishes as well as symbols – noodles and dumplings, Maneki-neko and dragon masks, and so on. The visual language boldly brandishes clear signal colours – vivid red and flourescent yellow – and the typography pops with strong contrasts and neon tube letters for the headlines.

As this was the first-ever edition of this festival, there was nothing to look back to – a very blank sheet in fact. The eye-catching and unconventional design seems to have paid off, with more than 12,000 visitors coming to eat, listen to music and experience Asian cultural offerings.

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Michael Sallit & Lyon Street Food Festival

Michael Sallit & Lyon Street Food Festival

居住於法國巴黎的本土設計師Michael Sallit來自第戎(Dijon,Michael特意指出該地著名出產芥末醬)。作為一個狂熱音樂粉絲,他的平面設計創作主力為觀眾帶來享受 – 就像與他一起成長的黑膠唱片一樣。「平面設計只供平面設計師觀看」的古老定律並不適用於這位藝術家;他甚至不喜歡稱自己為藝術家!

自高中畢業之後,Michael對於人生未來沒有方向。在他就讀文化事務碩士課程的時候,他和他的同學恰巧獲得一個為演唱會制作海報的機會。在他小時候的各種唱片封套設計的耳濡目染,他從70年代的唱片藝術,電腦加工和各種文化和平面表達方式的取其所需,集各家大成。平面設計最後成為了他的歸屬。

「這對我來說其實一點都不容易。想到每天都看著一張空白的紙然後我要創作出可以見人的東西,甚至是一些看起來很好看、很美麗、讓人能夠理解的東西。我需要在符合大同美感的條件之下時刻讓自己保持充滿靈感和在各方面尋找新的點子。」

Michael Sallit & Lyon Street Food Festival

Michael Sallit & Lyon Street Food Festival

Michael說:「最重要的目的是在影像、字型和創作目標上取得融和。我對於以空間的各種可能來說故事和發揮集體想像非常感興趣 – 我認為是在空間裡的故事讓人獲得體驗,而不是空間本身。」

即使Michael會盡量嘗試避開他不感興趣的項目,他卻也不排斥嘗試在他本身興趣以外的創作。「在我興趣以外的項目讓我很有動力,因為它令我離開我的安舒區,但我必須承認我會避開贊助商給予太多掣肘的項目,比方說『把字型改改』、『大一點』這種……」

Michael的夢想項目來自他的視音樂為第二生命的自我:為同一家唱片公司設計一系列唱片封套並組成連續創作。

被問及下一個目標是什麼,Michael說他被平面設計的精粹和視覺資訊能令人有感而發、延伸對話等的能力而啟發。「「所以我下一個目標是朝著這個方向前進,當然不能缺乏的是對自己的創作抱著謙虛的態度。我並不是想要創作高深莫測的東西,而是令所有人都喜歡的作品!」

里昂街頭美食節

在街頭舉辦美食街在這些年頭已經不是什麼新鮮事了,然而,Michael卻說他被兩件事情而吸引了去幫忙做這個A-Z的委約(也就是負責設計從膠杯到地鐵廣告都是設計項目)。

Michael Sallit & Lyon Street Food Festival

Michael Sallit & Lyon Street Food Festival

首先,活動主辦方說他們絕對不想要坊間常見的設計,例如大廚在微笑或者新鮮蔬果那一種。他們特別建議每道美食的插畫可以作為其中一個途徑。第二,主題必須貼合美食節極具異地風情的主題「香港美食」或者是法國米芝蓮式的香港美食!

Michael由此開始畫了各種各樣典型的亞洲美食和亞洲飲食的象徵:麵條、餃子、招財貓、龍頭等等。令人眼花繚亂的插畫加上燦爛的顏色 – 大紅和熒光黃配合像是霓虹光管的大型字體,Michael成功的營造出搶眼奪目的視覺效果。

首屆的美食節在Michael的設計和各家廚師精心炮製的美食下完美落幕。雖然沒有辦法跟之前的結果比較(才第一屆美食節!),但是起碼我們可以肯定有超過一萬兩千名來賓的來賓和眼睛和胃都充分享受了亞洲美食文化

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