Provence Art Contemporain is an organization that unites all art museums, galleries and residencies in the region of Provence, France. Each year, they organize a festival sharing the same acronym, PAC, called Printemps de l’Art Contemporain (“Spring of Contemporary Art”). Started in 2009, the festival takes place in different places of the region, whether in the city or in the breathtaking natural landscapes that we find there. The festival combines exhibitions and events such as performances and concerts, while also offering art tours for a whole day.
For its 13th edition, the PAC is subtitled “Cet incessant désir de récolte”: there lies an ambiguity as much in the French as in the translation. An English version might read: “This incessant desire of yield”, and then refer to the harvest of this rich region; but you could also translate récolte to “collecting”. This double interpretation pays homage to the region of Provence and at the same time opens up towards contemporary practices of art where the principle of collection is more and more visible.
Graphic designers Léna Araguas and Alaric Garnier played on this ambiguity and designed an identity where elements seem to be constantly adding up. We see different kinds of material finding their place on a common background, consisting of the acronym PAC on a yellow background. First, the subtitle, where each word is considered as a material unity and seems to be played with, in order to create different linear patterns into the format. For social media, this initial yellow space welcomes pictures of artworks which seem to be thrown carelessly on a surface: we can identify the potential untidiness of a compulsive collection, as if the collector emptied their pockets on the table, after having been on the prowl.
This principle is grounded by the use of two typefaces: Mars and Cardinal Fruit Italic from Production Type. Mars was designed by Alaric Garnier himself and fits well into the imaginary of a vernacular Provence, where signs of the 1950s and 60s are still very much visible. It’s featured with custom angular alternates for the letters of the “PAC” acronym. Cardinal Fruit is used for the phrase “Cet incessant désir de récolte” and contrasts with the very steady sans serif: its dancing italics and its very tight width evoke this instability and the flurry of a collector who is always on the hunt for the next object. This is very much visible in all multimedia visuals created for the identity: whether in small animations, where the words of the subtitle appear one after another, or in the website, where the hover effect makes the pictures appear and disappear.