Celebrated art director Fabien Baron has, over the course of his 30 year career, overhauled the image of five major fashion magazines and crafted the visual identities of multiple blue chip labels, including Calvin Klein , Balenciaga, and Burberry.
His instantly recognisable signatures – bold, elegant typography arranged around expanses of white space – have become mainstream, influencing the design for everything “from the Gap’s sales signs down to Tomato soup cans”, as he told BoF. He has also won numerous industry awards, particularly for his work on designer fragrance.
Growing up in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, Baron learnt typography and layouts from his father, who was an art director for several French newspapers. At the age of 20, after studying at the École des Arts Appliqués in Paris, he left to try his luck in New York City and landed at GQ after a meeting with the editorial director at Condé Nast, the late Alexander Liberman. Thereafter, he was introduced to the world of advertising while working at New York Woman, a magazine published by American Express.
Soon, he counted department store Barneys as a client, and eventually became art director at Vogue Italia, where Franca Sozzani had recently landed the top job and where Baron really developed relationships with fashion designers.
Thereafter, he left to join the late editor Liz Tilberis to reinvent Harper’s Bazaar in the early ‘90s, then Vogue Paris and the Warholian Interview magazine. In between, Baron launched his own advertising agency, Baron & Baron, and has also co-designed a line of furniture and eyewear.
With his own self titled agency, Baron's role now extends far beyond that of an art director. “Developing strategy is our job now — we have to create business plans and strategies. It’s not just shooting a campaign. Now we have to consider the why, the how, the market, the business, what we spend. The list goes on and on.” he told BoF.