French designer and illustrator Jean Jullien was named the first recipient of the ADC*E Creative Distinction for his iconic ‘Peace for Paris’ image. Initially an instinctive, emotional response to the Paris terrorist attacks, shared on social media, the illustration became a worldwide symbol of unity, solidarity and defiance. On 4 December, Claus Fischer, managing director of the Frankfurt-based agency VOSS + FISCHER and ADC*E board member travelled to Jean’s London studio to hand over the prize. Upon receiving the award, Jean explained a little more about his creation: “I express myself visually, so the first thing that came to my mind [when it happened] was to just draw something to communicate peace and solidarity towards Paris.
“I didn’t sketch, or research, or think about it. It was just the first thing that sprang to my mind. I was just posting as a person. Communicating as a person who was worried for the people I love and for everybody else. It certainly wasn’t driven by the idea of ‘putting myself out there. It was done on a humble level, but then it became something that got well out of my control.”
The ADC*E Creative Distinction is a special individual honour, created to recognise the most inspirational examples of creativity, which has had a significant societal impact. It is the brainchild of Michael Boebel, former CCO of Publicis Germany and member of the Art Directors Club of Germany, who worked with fellow board member HP Albrecht in developing the award. Here, HP explains more about the award: “The ADC*E exists to promote, cultivate and celebrate the merits of creativity as a language of communication at the European level. At its peak, the power of creativity is unmatched in its ability to move us, to make us feel and to bring us together. In that search for inspiration, we wanted to create a special honour for creative work of genuine cultural significance, from any field. And what better example of this than Jean’s logo?"
From European creatives everywhere, this is our humble way of thanking Jean for inspiring, enlightening and energising us, by showing us the capacity of creativity to unite the world.
While Jean finds it difficult to take happiness from the image itself – a visceral reaction to a terrible tragedy – he does find solace in how it has been adopted. “I grew up studying things like May ’68, and the work of people like Alan Fletcher; designers who really truly used image as a language to communicate. It’s one of the first times in my life as a designer and image-maker where I’ve been wowed by the power of communication. With the sign, the only thing that matters [to me] is that people saw a sign of peace. That they saw a sign everyone could read, regardless of their language. And what it could read was ‘peace, solidarity and community.” So in this sense, its function has been fulfilled.”
The ADC*E Creative Distinction exists outside of the traditional ADCE Awards programme. Decided upon by the ADC*E board, comprised of representatives from each of the 18 member clubs from across Europe.