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Catherine Zask (in English)

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In CZ’s studio, Scam invitations, 1997-2002

Catherine Zask :
“For the Scam (civil society of multimedia authors), some of the graphic principles were outlined in 1993.

It started out with a small commission: to create invitations for the screening of documentary films. These film-debate soirées, which serve as the Scam’s showcase, used to take place twice a month at the Vidéothèque de Paris.

An initial series and a following series in 1994 were the starting point of the Scam’s entire visual communication, and of a collaboration that has been going on for 9 years.

I started working on their visual identity in 1995, simultaneously with a new series of invitations.

As I couldn’t quite figure out what the Scam was, I started out by setting up a system that would prevent end-users from experiencing similar confusion.

Since the Scam (civil society of multimedia authors) is not fully explained by its definition, it seemed important that the graphic image contain the necessary explanation.

I composed ‘Scam’ like a name rather than an acronym, by using the Bauer Bodoni type, which had been used for the first two series of invitations.

I then added an asterisk, which functions as a cross-reference. This fulfilled my aim: TO SAY. This is what gave rise to the non-logo-safeguard ‘Scam*’, with its conspicuous asterisk that keeps yelling: ‘explain me! be clear!’

This explanatory principle naturally had to be on the stationery. A long road of drafting (and reconciliation) led to the text that appears on every Scam letterhead since 1995:
“La Société civile des auteurs multimedia rassemble réalisateurs, auteurs d’entretiens et de commentaires, écrivains, journalistes, vidéastes, photographes et dessinateurs. Ces créateurs font la richesse documentaire de la radiophonie, de l’audiovisuel et des nouveaux médias. La Scam les représente auprès du législateur, des producteurs et des diffuseurs. Elle discute, collecte et répartit leurs droits patrimoniaux, affirme leur droit moral et négocie leurs intérêts futurs.” (The civil society of multimedia authors brings together directors, interviewers, commentators, authors, journalists, video artists, photographers, and designers. These artists make up the documentary richness of radiophonics, audiovisuals and the new media. The Scam represents them before legislators, producers and distributors. It debates, collects and allots their patrimonial rights, affirms their moral right, and negotiates their future interests).

Now isn’t that clear? As a matter of fact, the Scam does many other things, but its role of ‘programmer and cultural agitator’ does not figure in its statutes.

The final constant for all documents produced by the Scam is the color: the spectrum goes from yellow to carmine red.

In addition to the series of invitations, renewed yearly, there is a significant output: stationery, brochures, a newsletter, promotion, advertising, objects, kakemonos, signage…”

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