: After many designs for Air Force squadrons you are now working for
their Ambassadors, that is quite unique ! How dit it all happen ?
: Well yes, Air Force units have some leeway for events that deserve a
special livery. The Ambassadors are the showcase of the Institution
and must be immediately identifiable and visually unchanging. By
chance, dates and unit nominations worked in my favour. In 2017 the
Institution celebrates its Aces and also the arrival of US forces by
our side, 100 years ago during WW1. The decision to organize an
American Tour for the Patrouille was made very early, as the success
of such an endeavour requires phenomenal logistics. The PAF had seen
my work for the centenary of the Escadrille La Fayette and they quite
naturally contacted me to see whether it would be possible to design
an identity for them in a similar spirit. As for the RSD, things are
linked to locations, the display pilot could traditionnally use the
Tiger Rafale painted for 1/7 " Provence ", then based in St
Dizier. Last year the Tiger traditions were transferred to
Mont-deMarsan whereas the team remained in St Dizier. It was
impossible to use the aircraft in Tiger Meet livery. All this became a
success thanks to the St Dizier teams, their hard work and dedication.
: The Patrouille de France has a strict ethical code and an imperative
for regularity in its displays. What about your design constraints ?
: At the start of the project, the team wanted patches and other items
with a special identity for their Tour. I suggested the design of a
unique tailfin for the leader, a minimalist proposal, knowing
perfectly well that the PAF has used the same livery since 1981,
that's 36 years ! The design I suggested was met with enthusiasm and a
positive answer was quick to come ! The whole team decided that a
single tailfin would not be enough and that their aircraft would all
have to be similarly decorated. A real first ! Concerning my
constraints, I was given rather strict instructions : the colours
(blue, white and red), plane number location (from 0 to 9) and a few
minor technical details that I checked with the Patrouille
technicians. As usual, all these constraints were to become strengths
and assets. It was my job to make it happen.
: How did you come up with the PAF design ?
: There is a well known axiom in the world of communication and design
: " less is more ". Initially, I wanted something close to
the design used for the " La Fayette " centenary, that is, I
intended to use the curves of an American flag in the wind. In order
to preserve the Patrouille de France's very own identity, I replaced
the stars on the flag with the aircraft silhouettes as they appear on
the team's patch. The outcome is such that our eyes, that are familiar
with the stars, see them as such at first glance and then understand
the graphic system after a second reading. That did the trick and the
rest followed logically.
How did you get to design the whole Rafale Solo Display livery ?
: Such an aircraft demands a powerful design ! This is a powerful and
dynamic livery, just like the aircraft itself. In agreement with the
pilots and all those around the project I imagined a modern and
striking design that would convey the Institution's image. My view of
things proved to be correct and I received maximum support from the
outset. Apparently the public is also quite supportive now !
: How did things evolve from the initial idea to the final concept ?
: Quite easily as I was trusted by the decision makers. I soon had a
rather precise idea of what I was aiming for. As usual I tried to
associate my design ideas and the technical constraints. I now have a
certain experience, working on the Rafale and I know its strongest
features and the rest of the work was a logical path from initial idea
to final product.
: Any other projects after the Ambassadors ?
: Certainly ! But you'll have to keep your eyes in the sky, looking
for colourful planes if you want to discover them !
: To conclude on a humorous note : at what point do you intend to
design a special livery for an Air France A 380 or an Ariane space
: I think that that kind of " canvas " would require more
than my simple good will. But the great thing with the power of
imagination is that is has no limits… Which implies that I do not
have limits either. Well now if the leaders of these huge corporations
are SBAP readers, which I hope, they just have to get in touch with
me. Now, a feast for your eyes, the Patrouille de France and the
" making of " of the Rafale, from the beginning to the final
product. Ready ?… Take-off !