Geoffrey Dorne, the creator of our visual identity, has been a freelance designer for 18 years, and is the founder of the Design & Human workshop, Labo.mg and HCKR publishing.
Alain Findeli says that “It is generally accepted that the end or purpose of design is to improve or at least maintain the “habitability” of the world in all its dimensions.” Is this a guideline for you? What questions do you ask yourself before committing to a project? What serves as your compass when committing, choosing, prioritising?
Hello and thank you very much for this interview. It is an honour for me! Indeed, I often quote Alain Findeli’s words, since they marked an intellectual turning point for a small part of French-speaking designers. I try to transform this thought into action in my work and my daily life. Before committing myself to a project, I listen to my instinct, my heart and my passion. There is nothing Cartesian about this, but it has always guided me. As a result, I naturally refuse projects that deteriorate the living, the living together, and that go against all these committed efforts that I have made.
Your work is protean, like the term “designer,” which embraces many different realities. Can you briefly mention 4-5 current projects to give an idea of the variety of projects you work on (newsletter, visual identity, teaching, AI experimentation)? What projects or ideas have you yet to explore?
I am a designer. As such, I create posters, books, visual identities, but also websites, applications, digital tools, objects, conferences, teaching, workshops, consulting missions and many other projects. Recently, I created a publishing house called HCKR.fr, which proposes revolutionary graphic objects. I also created a tool that lists the forms of graphic appropriation by fascism (indextreme.fr) and now I’m working with my design lab on the creation of a guide to learn how to find one’s way in the forest.
Can you briefly go back over the process of creating our visual identity (the meaning behind the symbols found in the logo and the richness of the pictographic language you have developed)?
To create the visual identity of the LearningPlanet Festival, you have to understand that it is first and foremost a common thought. It’s about sharing values, ideas and ideals with the team (click here to see the communication kit).
From there, I was able to explore the many symbols found in the logo: digital with the gray slash, the bubbling of life with the red circle, the appeasement of the human being with the blue plus, the sun and the sky with the yellow semicircle and the notion of earth and territory with the green square. These symbols are then used to compose pictograms, illustrations and other elements through communication.
What does a typical day and night in Geoffrey Dorne’s life look like? We insist on the night, because we know that you share your nightly discoveries daily on Twitter…
Difficult question, because no two days are alike. Of course, I work every day of my life on the projects that drive me, but I also take care of my family, I try to feed my brain with content that drive me (i.e. make me move and be moved) and rest assured I sleep very well, even if I sometimes share my design discoveries at ungodly hours…
According to you, how can design contribute to transform education?
As I try to practice it, for me, design is education! It educates through image, through form, through message and through its sensitive, social and committed approach. If design wants to transform education, it must transform itself…to transmit, to make autonomous and free, these are the objectives that I try to reach in education with design. For example, I created a training for young dropouts (the Design Step) a few years ago and just recently, I made a poster for Anarchist literature and another one for opening up to independent media.
You founded hacker editions which now includes several of your books. Is hacking / hijacking a necessity for you?
Since I was a teenager, hacking, hijacking, and different creative practices have always driven me. I’ve always been very attentive to the hacker culture and theory. I even made a poster about it! So yes, my degree was called “Hacking Citizen”, my first book “Hacker Citizen” and my second “Hacker Protester”. I admit it: hacking in the broadest sense is a necessary approach for social and environmental justice.
We talk more and more about finding meaning in our work, in our daily lives. It seems to me that your convictions have served as your guiding principle for the past 15 years. You talk openly about your approach in your blog. How do you keep a balance in your daily life?
Indeed, stating my approach and my commitments openly forces me to maintain a direction and it allows me to not go crazy! Faced with the Anthropocene, social injustices, the rise of fascism, the collapse of biodiversity and life as a whole, it is easy to feel disarmed. And yet, the action in my work, time with my loved ones, my family, my daily relationship with nature allows me to feel good. And I sincerely wish it to everyone.
What are you working on at the moment?
For this last question, I won’t talk about work, but about my garden! It’s winter so I’m making vegetable garden squares with the boards from the local sawmill to enlarge my garden. Design is everywhere!
Read more about Geoffrey
🤲 Design & projects : GeoffreyDorne.com
👁 Design & thoughts : Graphism.fr
🌱 Design & environments : Labo.mg
✊ Design & engagements : Design & Human