Process | Designer + Animator, Alexis Jamet

Nestled within the vibrant landscape of Parisian design, Alexis Jamet stands out as a luminary in the field. His distinct approach features abstract static and dynamic illustrations that blend digital and analog techniques to create a warm atmosphere that is at once dreamy and daring. In this interview, we turn our attention to a specific project, Jamet’s collaboration with the esteemed fashion house, Hermès. This collaboration brought to life the visual identity for the prestigious Saut Hermès, an annual show jumping competition held at the Grand Palais in Paris, France.

Tell us a little bit about this project, and how it came to be?

Hermès contacted my agent, Monsieur L’Agent in Summer of 2022 to see if I would be interested in taking part in the competition to create the identity for the Saut Hermès 2023; so I was in competition with two others in mid-August and received a positive response in early September. In previous years, only one artist was invited, and this was the first year they’d done this competition format.

 

What was the brief supplied to you?

It was pretty straightforward. The image had to be elegant and show a horse and rider. Then, as the exchanges progressed, new constraints were integrated. It was their 13th edition, so I had to create something that stood apart from previous years.

 

We’d love to hear about your creative process. How did you approach this project, from research to final execution?

I wanted to make the jump bars a feature, so I spent a lot of time drawing them. I think they’re very beautiful graphically. I tried ink first and then airbrush. In the end, the bars didn’t make the cut, but I really enjoyed the exploration. Then I concentrated on movement, inspired by the smears in cartoons that have always obsessed me, and that’s what defined the rest of the project.

We know that deadlines can often be stretched. What year was the project started and completed?

The project started in Summer 2022, was completed in December that same year, and released in February 2023. It was initially intended to be a two month project, but ended up taking double the time.

 

Who did you collaborate with on this project?

Armand Beraud and Tom Noordanus Calmels of Salut helped me create and animate the film, and my friend Matías Enaut developed the music for it. I also had some assistance from Jules Tirilly to develop the graphic chart and website. All of the remaining graphic assets and signage for the event were then handled by 34studio. Throughout, I worked closely with the Hermès team and the printers, and of course Monsieur l’Agent who were involved in the production.

 

Team effort. Do you tend to develop a range of concepts for a project, or are you clear on direction from the outset? What did the client think of the initial concept(s)?

I usually work on several concepts but only present one to the client—the one that I feel is most relevant. In this case, being a competition, they asked me to propose just one poster, but to give myself more of a chance I proposed 3. It was a project I really wanted to land.

They immediately approved my choice of colours and typefaces, but as the project progressed, elements had to be added. For example, the scenography of the event was going to be vegetal, so I had to rework the poster by adding greenery. Later, we decided the Hermès orange should exist on the poster too, and so on.

What are your thoughts when reflecting on the unused designs now? Were there any unused designs and, if so, what are your thoughts when reflecting on them now?

In fact, I really liked the first version I put forward. Being aware that this was a project with a budget, I thought straight away about a poster with direct tones. I really liked the large solid blue that accentuated the more textured shapes.

 

Can you recall any challenges that you faced throughout the project?

The way the horse should appear is really specific. The equestrian team at Hermès had to correct the position of the horse and rider several times—this was knowledge that I simply don’t have, and even though I was inspired by jumping videos, I still had difficulties. The film process was exhausting as well. Most of my films are made frame by frame, and Hermès was very particular about the movement of the horse, its speed, how the crowd was drawn, and what objects were to appear. We had to rework the music almost ten times and the animation even more.

 

How has this project opened new doors for you?

I was recently in Japan for a solo exhibition, and a lot of people who came by had discovered me through my work with Hermès—I think that’s the case with most of my audience and clients. The poster was displayed all over Paris, and all along the Champs Elysees, so it had great reach in France. It has led to quite a lot of requests for event posters too, but I don’t just want to do posters, so I haven’t accepted too many.