Sacha and François, Revue Faire
Paris is currently the source of some really exciting magazines, and this week we meet the team behind one, graphic design journal Revue Faire. It’s unique in several ways: published every 15 days over the university year, each 20-28 page issue addresses a single topic.
It’s also a rare example of a contemporary magazine taking a seriously analytical approach to graphic design, something reflected in the complex, experimental layouts combining French and English versions of the text.
Designer/publishers François Havegeer and Sacha Léopold produce the journal as part of their cross-disciplinary design studio Syndicat (one client is Profane, whose co-founder we recently interviewed). They also publish books under their Empire imprint. We meet them as issue 37 is launched, and issue 38 is at print.
Photograph above shows François, friend Olivier Lebrun, and Sacha
What are you up to this morning?
We are based in the north of Paris, in a ground level studio in a typical Parisian passage. As we are a very small structure (three people), Covid didn’t change our routine that consist in spending most the week designing, unboxing, packing, e-mailling again and again.
The studio is also a part of storage for the 36 issues of Revue Faire and the 10 books we already published with Empire Books.
Describe your desk and your work space
Few weeks ago we were discussing with a friend of ours, also running a design studio (M/M Paris). We were surprised that most current design studios look like surgery clinics with operating tables, all empty, with mostly the same designer furnitures everywhere.
In contrast to that, ours looks more like a second hand shop or a garage full of old bikes.
Which magazine do you first remember?
Sacha remembers his French moped magazine from his teens, and François a football mag with posters of players like Thierry Henry in it.
As students, we used to read Grafik (UK), later we where very excited by Graphic (Korea). May be are we only fans of the graphic word?
Which magazine matters to you the most this morning?
We are currently big fans of MacGuffin and its rhythm of subjects. The editorial approach, mixing historical, critical and artistic approach is very exciting.
Describe Revue Faire in three words
LOOK AT THINGS
Your publishing schedule is a unique one—please explain it!
We started Revue Faire as we finished being weekly lecturer in graphic design schools. But the publishing rhythm is based on the school schedule—an issue every 15 days, from September to June.
The main purpose is to deliver every 15 days a kind of small course about one specific topic. In that way, one season can become a kind of visual culture course in 15 lessons.
Why do you think there is so little critical analysis of graphic design today?
That’s a good question, maybe historians will be able to analyse that in few years? Maybe it is because graphic design is becoming a trendy job, based on sexy images to post on social media? In that way who needs critical analysis?
However, interesting design/image/art publications are often non-profit side projects which never have money or time to publish regularly. When we started Revue Faire we said, we don’t have time or money so let’s print it every 15 days and see! It’s the same four years after with less time but more subscribers :-)
Describe your production process—each issue is one text; after you receive it, how do you translate that into a new issue of Revue Faire?
Revue Faire is a kind of growing family composed of different authors and various practices, historians, writers, teachers, designers, curators. We are doing our best to build a tempo for each season, discussing with the different authors about an ideal rhythm. But that never happens due to all collaborators activities (ours included).
There is no specific work process. Sometimes we are contacting someone because we know he/she will be the good one to write about a topic we love. Sometime we contact an author because we are in love with her/his work. Sometimes people contact us with a proposal they know we’ll be fan of.
And then discussion starts, sometimes with images, sometimes with an idea on the printed object, sometimes before or after the text. We are trying to make that crazy rhythm not boring, trying to reactivate Revue Faire as much as possible with each issue.
Please share an issue/a page of Revue Faire that best sums up your wishes for the project.
The cover of issue three, above.
Please share one piece of advice for somebody wanting to launch their own publication.
Take your time.
What are you most looking forward to this coming week?
Receiving the printing test of Revue Faire #38 about Dutch designers Jan Van Toorn & Wim Crouwel. That will be the next special issue!