Founded in 2001 by Alexandre Dimos and Gaël Étienne, the Paris-based graphic design studio deValence has just entered its fifteenth year of activity – or rather activities: visual communication, typographic design and art direction for editorial projects. Now comprising studio partners Dimos and Ghislain Triboulet, with collaborators Jeremy Perrodeau and Jean-Philippe Bretin, deValence has proved itself a dynamic and enduring studio, having gradually built up a reputation in a professional environment that is overcrowded and fragile in this era of economic crisis. The studio designs and makes publications, posters, visual identities, signage and websites for a wide variety of clients: cultural institutions (the Château de Versailles), educational establishments (Harvard Graduate School of Design), publishers (Flammarion), journals (L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui), brands, newspaper groups, artists, architects, etc.
In 2008 deValence branched out into publishing when it set up a sister company, B42, which produces books dedicated to graphic design, typography, popular culture and contemporary arts, as well as writing by designers and artists and, most notably, Back Cover, which in six issues has established itself as a leading critical journal. To what extent has deValence managed to construct its own identity, to lay claim to a position which, on the face of it, could be considered to run counter to other trends in a country where the graphic designer artist /auteur still predominates? It is possible to describe their approach as resolutely Modernist – respectful of a tradition that is still recent in graphic design’s short history, but lacking in deferential nostalgia; animated by a desire to reinvigorate rules, positions and forms, having tested them out over a long period; nourished by a need to move the lines of force and to lay down some new ones in the present.