News and Insights

Francois Robert: The Designer’s Photographer

Kerry Grady, Founding Principal
Francois Robert has been nominated for the International Photographer of the Year (Lucie Awards). Herman Miller gets the perfect spot. (left) “Stop the Violence” Gun (right) All images shown are © copyright Francois Robert and may not be used or reproduced in any manner without his explicit approval to do so.

Some people describe him as a brilliant photographer. Others think he’s an uncanny graphic designer, whose witty rebellion and playfulness with shape and type is something a la e.e. cummings. Some have handsome/charming/Swiss/French Francois pegged as the human incarnation of loveable cartoon skunk hunk, Pepe LaPew with maybe just a jigger of (Mick) Jagger.

But one look at his work, and you’d probably just call Francois Robert an indescribable genius.

Face “bearing” (left), Face “clock”

Francois Robert is a photographer/designer/visual philosopher (our words, he might blush a bit from that.) He sees the world, its spectacular shapes and unexpected angles, through a very different type of lens. His work is a fusion of line, design, shock, and awe…with a glimpse of unexpected tenderness. Just when you think Francois’ vision is audacious–or maybe even shocking–you’re captured by a glance of gentleness.

“Sweet and Low” from “The Contents” series

He is a different type of photographer, moving seamlessly from product, to portrait, to location, and from corporate to consumer to fine art. He says the key to a great design or photo is “imagination, and to communicate clearly and simply an idea.” His fine art is often politically and socially charged. As in “Stop The Violence,” a chilling image of a revolver, assembled completely from human bones. He graciously credits collaboration for his commercial work. It “often reflects a team effort in problem solving.”

Grady Campbell has teamed with Francois Robert for 25 years on a variety of assignments (Sony, MB Financial,  “We’ve had a long relationship with Francois because we share a design-centric approach and a timeless, modern aesthetic, “ says Kerry Grady, Principal. “We recognize Francois’ talent and think of him as a friend.”

At the top of Francois Robert’s letterhead is a subtle identity that reads,  “ICUC.” (How true.)

I have often brought awareness to people who’ve never taken the time to see.Francois Robert

Francois ROBERT Photography

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