Previous Elysée Palace website
The project, designing the site and the Elysée’s online visual identity, was a public tender oversen by two chief digital officers from the Elysée, Romain Pigenel and Frédéric Giudicelli. Both budget and deadline were tight – three and a half months from brief to launch for a total budget of €50,000.
The keywords of the brief were ‘intuitive design, interactivity and accessibility’, says agency director François Vogel, ‘otherwise, we had carte blanche’.
The defining tenets of François Hollande’s presidency, accessibility and sobriety, are translated visually into the website’s design. The frill-free site is easy to access and navigate with optional audio description. It’s design responsive, automatically adjusting to all screen sizes including tablets and smartphones. A horizontal timeline lets users follow the President’s agenda in real-time and gives full access to his speeches, videos and exclusive photos. The site is in French only.
Twitter and Facebook accounts allow users to write directly to the President and comment on events. Citizen Tweets are permanently posted on the site (monitored by the Elysée to avoid any untoward calls to arms or revolution!).
The Elysée also ensured that the site was 100% designed and produced in France, even down to the choice of type designer and font. The typeface for the logotype and headings is Jean François Porchez‘s Le Monde, originally designed for the Le Monde newspaper in 1999 and reissued in 2010 as Le Monde Livre Classic.
The symbol chosen by the President is a somewhat obscure emblem of France, the complex ‘faisceau de licteur’ – lictors were bodyguards of magistrates in ancient Rome, the ‘faisceau’ is the bundle of oak branches, (for strength), and olive branches, (for peace), they carried to ward off attackers, topped by an axe to execute them, if necessary.
It predates the French Revolution and was adopted in 1790 with the initials RF in the centre as the symbol of the first French Republic. Giscard d’Estaing adopted it as his presidential insignia on a blue white and red flag.
Textuel La Mine developed a modern stylized version of the ‘faiseau de licteur’ in white, reversed out of dark blue.
Not given to effusiveness, President Hollande pronounced himself “très satisfait” with the result when contacted by CR. It corresponds perfectly, he says, to his wish for transparency and accessibility.
CR in Print
The January issue of Creative Review is all about the Money – well, almost. What do you earn? Is everyone else getting more? Do you charge enough for your work? How much would it cost to set up on your own? Is there a better way of getting paid? These and many more questions are addressed in January’s CR.
But if money’s not your thing, there’s plenty more in the issue: interviews with photographer Alexander James, designer Mirko Borsche and Professor Neville Brody. Plus, Rick Poynor on Anarchy magazine, the influence of the atomic age on comic books, Paul Belford’s art direction column, Daniel Benneworth-Gray’s This Designer’s Life column and Gordon Comstock on the collected memos, letters and assorted writings of legendary adman David Ogilvy.
Please note, CR now has a limited presence on the newsstand at WH Smith high street stores (although it can still be found in WH Smith travel branches at train stations and airports). If you cannot find a copy of CR in your town, your WH Smith store or a local independent newsagent can order it for you. You can search for your nearest stockist here. Alternatively, call us on 020 7970 4878 to buy a copy direct from us. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 970 4878 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine.
CR for the iPad
Read in-depth features and analysis plus exclusive iPad-only content in the Creative Review iPad App. Longer, more in-depth features than we run on the blog, portfolios of great, full-screen images and hi-res video. If the blog is about news, comment and debate, the iPad is about inspiration, viewing and reading. As well as providing exclusive, iPad-only content, the app will also update with new content throughout each month. Try a free sample issue here