Le Roman des Romands

2018

The "Roman des Romands" (the "Novel of the Swiss-French") is a literary prize that was launched in 2009. It aims to promote contemporary literature in French-speaking Switzerland and to promote the link between authors and their audience, and particularly the young readership.

When we're 17, we've got that rebellious spirit, cheeky ambition, energy and the deep belief that nothing can ever stop us. We've taken ourselves back to that state of mind to come up with this book in an unique, audacious way.

We wanted this collection to be like a quirky mise-en-abyme, where the graphic layout would visually reproduce the mood of the stories and their authors; like a phantasmagorical dive, in black and white, into their worlds.

How to achieve visual consistency between this plethora of different texts, yet simultaneously represent each writer's individuality? To do this, we chose to remain faithful to the graphic codes of the novel, while surprising the reader with an unconventional layout.

"The unique and spontaneous way the images are positioned echoes the freedom and daring of adolescence."

We wanted to spark curiosity and the desire to read by creating a rhythm which breaks with literary tradition. Consequently, each short story is laid out within a booklet in the original format of a pocket novel, then integrated into a book format. The contrasting play between formats and tones demarcates the space of the narrative and the authors, portrayed in their archive images.

"How to achieve visual consistency between this plethora of different texts, yet simultaneously represent each writer's individuality?"

The unique and spontaneous way the images are positioned echoes the freedom and daring of adolescence. But nothing is left to chance: from the choice of fonts to the grid created through the numbering, everything has been meticulously thought through.

In the end, the challenge was not only a creative one. On a technical level, integrating two different formats in a single work involved a production process requiring hours of research and development with our collaborators. When confronted with the design's complexity and constraints, a number of bookbinders simply abandoned the project. But convinced this was the ideal layout, we managed to find people who were drawn in by its boldness and the challenge of its constraints.

We are proud of the final product we have created, and we thank the association Le Roman des Romands for placing their trust in us.