Jean-Benoit Levy is one of the very few poster designers from the famous Basel School who has remained in Basel, the rest is scattered all over the world. The days are also gone when the big cultural institutions like the Kunsthalle, the Stadttheater, or the Gewerbemuseum used to shower local graphic designers with regular commissions for posters. Undeterred, Levy keeps up the flag and makes full size posters for small clients, even at a loss to himself. "Making a poster is dream work for every graphic designer", he says, and puts in long unpaied hours to maintain high design standards, and so we have the strange situation that a book shop, a hairdresser or a tiny street theater group enjoy the privilege of top rate poster advertising that the multi-million, state financed institutions "can not afford", as they say.
Levy, who's parents are both professional photographers, likes to use photography in his work, but not in the way of Uwe Loesch (".. we took some stock pictures") or Makoto Saito (".. I am not interested in the photographer's ideas, they have to do what I want"). Although Levy's posters often look like an elaborate Photoshop assembly, they are in fact the result of an intense collaboration with photographers who are associates and friends like Franz Werner or the late Jean-Pascal Imsand, with Levy acting as a sort of go-between between client, photographer and himself. The critical point in the design process is reached when he - manually - adds typography to the pictures, and as you can see in the following pages, his very subtle way of enhancing them goes far beyond mere lettering. My personal favorite is the poster for the watch maker and I have put it under the heading visual poetry.
All Levy posters on the following pages have the size 128 x 90 cm, the so-called Weltformat. He may still have some for you if you ask him.