Established in 2003 as part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the Élysée Treaty — agreed upon by Charles de Gaulle of France and Konrad Adenauer of Germany in 1963 to improve the two countries’ relationship — the Fonds Culturel Franco-Allemand / Deutsch - Französischer Kulturfonds (as named in French and German, or Franco-German Cultural Fund in English) is a joint cultural program supporting projects in dance, theater, art, music, and more, that showcase the link between the two countries. A new identity has been designed by Lyon- and Paris-based Graphéine.
Our proposal is based on the notion of cross exchange. Germany is represented by a horizontal axis, and France by a vertical axis. A color is assigned to each of these two axes. The superposition of two colors at the intersection of two axes symbolizes collaboration, dialogue and intercultural exchange between Fance and Germany.
The exchange and collaboration link is reinforced by the common use of the word “Fonds” (fund). Indeed, it is the only word which is identical in both languages. It is therefore legitimate it has its place in the center of the logo in the center of the crossing.
The previous logo used the trademark mouse of French cartoonist, Plantu, who specializes in political satire. The mouse appears on all of his cartoons as a supporting character and the fund had been using a flag-waving version of it since it started — a nice logo for those who know who Plantu is, a little baffling for those who don’t. So a new, more universal logo was certainly welcome.
Wordy, multilingual logos are really hard to do but this one solves the problem cleverly and beautifully by finding the word “Fonds” as the common link and noticing that the German name ends with it and French name starts with it. A big part of the success of this logo are the angles of the rectangles that make the cross: had it been 0- and 90-degree angles it would have looked too serious and more health/emergency related but by tilting them it adds dynamism and a bit of a culture-artsy-minded edge. The condensed typography works perfectly with the concept and does its best to spell out the giant name in a clear and readable manner.
The colorful variations add even more vibrancy to the identity, which is otherwise pretty straightforward in the stationery and business card applications while bringing some more heat in other printed communications, playing with an overlay band in the same angle as the vertical of the cross. Overall, it’s a really nice identity that goes quite well with the subject.