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14 NEW MASTERS OF POSTER DESIGN
Caspar’s work for theater productions has garnered most of the
attention. When asked why he designs posters for theater, he
recalls, “I couldn’t answer that question two years ago, but now
I remember that I went to the Ariane Mnouschkine Theatre
when I was eight years and that I have been fascinated with
theater ever since.“ In addition, “Working on a theater poster
is working on the imagination itself. It is telling a story in as
short a manner as possible,“ and this is what invigorates him:
the journey and the challenge.
Caspar no longer ponders his design as he did when he was
young. “We are what we do, and there are so many solutions
when I design a poster,“ he says, reflecting on the styles and
design movements that have influenced his work. When asked
about his place in design, he responds, “I asked myself this
question when I was a student. Now I don’t care. I do what
I believe in and try to find my own way. The secret is to let your
life come into your poster, to let its story become yours and
vice versa. What else can you do? I could tell you every event
of my life by describing my posters,“ he smiles.
THE REAL SEARCHERS
Caspar’s influences from the masters are “Cassandre for con-
struction, Hartfield for political positioning, Cieslewicz for
generosity, and Savignac for humor. But I’m more influenced
by art painting in general,“ he admits. “Like surrealism or con-
structivism, and primitives. What would design be without
the artists? To me, they are the real searchers.“ Striving for the
artistic application of his concepts drives his poster work above
those around him. Unafraid of technology, he embraces it in a way
that furthers his goal but does not overtake it.
Caspar appreciates every step of producing a poster and is
hooked on silkscreening and the subsequent ink smell, “which
makes me drunk and happy.” He relishes photographing Paris
at night and snaps pictures of his favorite shoes. He picks up a pair
of scissors, or a brush, or a pen, and then looks forward to
manipulating the results on his trusted computer. Once he
completes a design he really gets to work, explaining that when
posters are in press “is when I really take control of the
process.“ His bold colors certainly attest to that.
JUST ENOUGH
Now Caspar does more with less. “I wanted to design ten
posters a month before. Now I know I would lose my soul if
I worked at that rate. I prefer to take more time so as not to mess
up. I’ll never get rich with this anyway. I now choose my clients
for poster projects. We have to fit. If not, there is no way I can
make a good poster. This might sound strange, but I need carte
blanche, even if I have less work.” For him, “the poster is a
synthesis of graphic design competencies: conceptualization,
typography, layout, and personal expression. This expression
must enrich the information, without damaging it, to amplify its
impact. To paraphrase Milton Glaser, I would say that I look not
for the less but for the just enough.
“I could tell you every event of my life by describing my posters.”
FRANÇOIS CASPAR
PARIS, FRANCE
BEAUTIFUL FOR A MOMENT
“The nicest compliment I’ve had is when a simple passerby said that seeing my poster
in his street has made his everyday life more beautiful for a moment,” says designer
François Caspar. The impressive list of galleries and museums that show his work
and the awards he has won probably feel pretty good as well. Caspar’s bold sense of design,
use of large central imagery, and inherent playfulness generate a classic appeal
with a French twist.
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