The Beauty Of One Line

Designers and Brand Identity Specialists Show Us How One Line Has Endless Possibilities

‘Simple but clever’ is the phrase that comes to mind when looking at the work that comes out of Differantly‘s small Parisian studio. Most neatly summed up by the team’s ‘One Line Animal’ series, where a playful flick of the wrist turns simple black markings into bold animal designs. You would be forgiven for deeming them childlike in their playful nature as this is exactly what Emmanuelle and Stephane, the studios owners, intended. Fanatical about detail, the two creators, have built their passion into a business that works on design and brand identity but still manage to incorporate fun into their work.

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The one Line Animal series embodies this attitude to life – the trial and error of creating real, complex, subjects without ever lifting the pen off the paper. The pair love animals and though the stark minimalism of the drawings may suggest a distant relationship with the subjects, it is actually the opposite.

Before the pen even hits the paper the duo are well versed in the way each creature moves, how each body part is connected to the next and the individual beauty they possess. Most beautiful of all is the promise in the series, the hope that there is room for play, for silliness, even in adult life: that maybe we over complicate the simplest beauty.

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We caught up with the designers to find out how the One Line Animal series has not only added to their extensive collection but changed their lives.

Tell us a little bit more about Differantly, how did you start the team?
We’re two French artists Emmanuelle & Stephane and we’d always dreamt of creating our own creative studio. So, after having worked in the design field for many years, we decided it was time to do it! What an amazing adventure. We love being able to organize ourselves like we want, choose projects we’re excited about and work with talented people. We’ve studios both in Paris and Leipzig and it’s very refreshing to work with clients from all parts of the world. Beside art, our main inspiration sources are nature, wildlife, science, anthropology, robotics and of course… our canine mascot, Mina.

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Why One Line?
We came up with the One Line idea a bit by chance because we like behaving like children and making games. It’s quite funny to try to find the best way to represent a subject without ever lifting the pen. It’s also totally in line with the minimalist vibe we like.

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What are the challenges during the creations of your one line series?
The first challenge is to observe and understand the subject well enough to be able to sum it up in a few strong features. Then, we must find a way to represent these features in a subtle but effective way. And finally create something original, easily understandable and as simple as possible.

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What is the idea behind the animal logos?
We LOVE animals. We are fascinated by them and feel deep respect for all the living creature on earth. We love drawing them. Aren’t they beautiful in so many ways?
There is actually an amazing animal story behind the One Line animal series. We were about to do our first One Line animal; a dog. As we were documenting on dogs online, we came across the picture of a dog that immediately appealed to us. This dog had such a soft and melancholic look. We stopped our work to look for more information and we found out that it was an abandoned female dog living 3000km from us, on the Cyprus island. We already knew she was “our” dog, the one we’d been waiting for so many years. We booked flight tickets that day to get a chance to know her and we brought her back home a few weeks later.
Today, Mina is our best furry friend and a full member of Differantly studio. So, we can say that the One Line animal graphics changed our lives in a quite surprising way!

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How did you decide the final ‘look’ for each one-line image? You must had different versions of drawings/designs.
Yes, we always have several versions of the same subject but the most relevant one always speaks for itself, so we usually don’t have problems to choose.

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What’s the next ‘One Line’?
Well, we are currently working on more realistic and complex one line portraits. We’re very excited about it. The style will be completely different from this project but one thing is sure: we’ll draw without lifting the pen as well!

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Are you going to create books (e.g. children’s or colouring) for One Line series?
Well, books are indeed a possibility. The One Line project buzzed way more than what we ever expected and we received a bunch of very different proposals that we need to think about. We’ll see!

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On a more practical level, the creative studio has produced a series of one-line social media icons. Easily recognisable yet totally unique, these logos can be used on any website to incorporate a distinctive design aesthetic.

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