Introducing: My Name is Wendy
14 November 2023
Meet My Name is Wendy, a creative powerhouse born in 2006 through the collaboration of graphic designers Carole Gautier and Eugénie Favre. This dynamic studio specialises in crafting brand identities, typefaces, illustrations, motifs, 3D projects, and motion design. Wendy's expertise extends to luxury, fashion, art, and music, as well as independent and multinational projects. Whether delving into cultural exploration or entrepreneurial ventures, they believe in the transformative power of graphic design to shape society's cultural space, offering rich and meaningful forms, messages, and tools. Welcome to a world where creativity knows no bounds.
Welcome to CIA! Tell us a bit about yourselves, where are you from, and why was design such a good fit.
Thanks for the warm welcome, we're delighted to be joining you.
Carole: I studied to be a letter designer, followed by a vocational baccalauréat in advertising communications and then a DNAP in graphic design at the Beaux-arts.
Eugénie: I had a literary baccalauréat with an arts option, then went to university for a year to study modern literature, and finally the Beaux-arts, where I had a DNSEP in contemporary art. We both met while studying at the Beaux-arts in Valence (a French town between Lyon and Avignon), then trained as DTP and web designers, and created our collaboration in 2006. It was traditional drawing, which we both practised as children, that led us to graphic design.
Your studio name "My Name is Wendy" is inspired by the film written by Lars von Trier "Dear Wendy." Is film a common inspiration for your work, what other creative influences or role models do you have?
Yes, cinema is an important source of inspiration for us. Its hypnotic dimension makes it possible to magnify emotions and put artistic mythologies into images and scenes. We love powerful films such as those by Lynch, Campion, Lanthimos, Kubrick, Sciamma, Pasolini and Agnès Varda.
Music is another great source of inspiration, providing the rhythm for our live work, as well as being a source of inspiration through lyrics and music videos. This is also true of architecture, with its structural, formal dimensions and the language it develops with space and the elements that surround it. Our readings also inspire and nourish our desire for images, in a more subterranean but highly efficient way.
Otherwise, we're big fans of the work of Sol Lewitt, Gilbert & George, Barbara Kruger, Charles Burns, and Henning Wagenbreth, among others. We love underground comics for their expressive qualities, and old medieval manuscripts that combine drawing, composition and lettering. We are also passionate about fashion for how clothes are presented in collections and shows, and object design for how functionality and aesthetics intertwine.
Can you define "Plastic Art" and why this speaks to you both the most?
This makes us smile because it's a translation error on our part. "Arts plastiques" in French refers to contemporary art, we think in English it means nothing (laughs). In France, we use the term "plastiques" in reference to the "materials" used to express ourselves in art, whether physical or digital. For us, contemporary art doesn't refer to a specific practice, but rather to what's being done here and now, so it's more a question of a temporal dimension than a field of intervention.
We love the playfulness of your collaboration with YouTube, can you touch on your creative process for this project? What were the rewards and challenges it brought?
YouTube was a challenging and exciting project. The team had selected 10 international motion artists and each had to create a 15' animation. This animation, intended for YouTube Première, is a countdown, an animation that plays while a video is being downloaded. Each animation represented a theme: culture, sport, games, etc.
As we had the comedy sector, our inspiration was the scene of Charlie Chaplin as he goes through the gears of the machine in the Modern Times movie. But we wanted to do something very abstract and simplified. We began by creating a series of coloured landscapes in vector graphics, with one or more circles symbolising a ball. The ball as a sort of character is driven, pushed, crushed, falls, changes colour, and the highly geometric scenery makes it undergo many changes and adventures.
You are known for wanting to keep an intimate design process, always working on projects together and not enlarging your team. Do either of you have a creative outlet that isn't intertwined with the other?
The exclusive collaboration between us might give the impression that we are closed off, but in fact, all artists know how complex it is to find a collaboration that works. In a collaboration, you have to share the same energy, ethics, artistic expectations and economic development challenges, while preserving the artistic expression of each individual, because almost everything is pooled. It's rare and complex to find the right synergy, and when it does exist, all you want to do is preserve it. On the other hand, we are totally open to collaborating on a project with a team because it is very interesting and it can bring together so many different skills.
About the second question, one of us is a writer, with two books of contemporary poetry published since 2022!
You have had many exhibitions over the years, how do you bridge the gap between graphic screen-based design and the physical exhibition space?
It's been a long time since we did an exhibition as Covid-19 changed things a bit. We all found ourselves entrenched in our offices and studios. After that, proposals and opportunities concerning exhibitions became rarer as we had to make things work again, economically speaking. In truth, we're very comfortable with the physical exhibition space, because we're so much at work on our computers that we love to escape and work manually. For years, in the studio, the decompression space was to find old furniture and design it to furnish our workplace. Working with materials is to rediscover a physical and gestural practice, which is very soothing and gratifying.
If we came to your studio what music would you be playing to spike creativity?
It's hard to say because our musical tastes are very broad: it could just as easily be a New-Wave hit, electronic music, Die Antwoord, Eric Satie, Madonna or Björk... Depending on the moment, the rhythm is more or less slowed down or accelerated. But let's play the game, let's imagine you're in our studio right now, at this very moment, and this is what we'd play...
What is your current workspace like? If you could relocate to anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
Our workspace is quite small, integrated into the apartment in which we live. We have 4 computers, a large graphic arts plotter for the prints of our online shop My Name is Jack, digital equipment and everything we need to draw. We could be anywhere, we'd just like it to be a small house with a garden for growing vegetables, fruit and relaxing, with a garage for experimenting with screen printing and risography.
Feeling inspired? Browse through their motion portfolio to see the very best in 2D and 3D motion graphics, or scroll through their illustration portfolio to see stylistic montages of graphic design in the realms of typography and branding.