Les Arènes is a French publishing house based in Paris. Founded in 1997 to publish the censored book Une guerre (The War) by Dominique Lorentz, a report on the nuclear deals between Iran and France, the publisher has in its DNA a political commitment that is still visible in its contemporary publications. As time went by, Les Arènes became bigger and launched different other initiatives, notably in the field of press releases. They are also known for their multimedia creative content called Les Arènes du Savoir (“Arenas of Knowledge”). This YouTube channel offers interviews with specialists on different social questions, most of them writers for the publishing house, but also support videos for the French bachelor’s degree and mini-documentaries. Some of these videos are adapted for social media. In the end, the aim of Les Arènes is to spread knowledge in any possible way.
The visual identity of Les Arènes is very much linked to their video graphics and presence on social media. In a radical gesture for a publishing house, art director Hadrien Herzog chose Media Sans from Production Type as the basis for Les Arènes’ custom logotype, and also as titling typeface for their videos. The modifications made for the logo include customized proportions and the addition of ink traps. The latter anchors the publishing house in a print tradition, even though part of the the content is multimedia. For video graphics, Media Sans is used together with GT Alpina from Grilli Type; this association creates an impactful contrast that helps catching the eye, especially on social media where it is difficult to grasp one’s attention while scrolling. Apart from these considerations, the colorful and punchy graphics are also a manifesto of the publishing house’s political commitment: the graphic procedures give weight to the catalog of Les Arènes and help popularize some issues that would otherwise be of interest to specialists only.