Love letter

Founder Alexandre Mattiussi’s doodled signature inspired the Ami de Coeur logo.

A symbol with multiple meanings, AMI’s new logo adds a touch of red to the label’s menswear, a convivial nod to Parisian detachment.

The matter may seem futile, incidental, washing up against unknown shores. Yet the slightest punctuation mark conceals unplumbed semantic depths. Likewise with a motif that’s normally slipped inside a garment but this time shows up on the exterior, as if conquering new territory. It might be embroidered on the left of the chest, flocked on the torso or screenprinted on the back. Commonly known as a logo, it’s a kind of symbol, banner, abbreviation or flag. In the case of Alexandre Mattiussi, founder of the menswear label AMI (meaning “friend,” in French), his logo could be described as an ellipsis. Creating his brand’s symbol took the time that it took, without corner cutting, because the designer wanted to get it just right.

But AMI is a meaningful ellipsis. Mattiussi wanted it to be visual, while suggesting a state of mind, a team spirit, a way of seeing things. “I’m drawn to positive, optimistic people,” he says. “The people I work with are like that, and my clothes are too. AMI isn’t a conceptual brand at all. I wanted this logo to explain what kind of people we are.” So this wasn’t simply an exercise in graphic design; the AMI logo had to make sense and be more than a pretty arrangement of interwoven letters. Six years after the brand was founded, it gave birth to a red A topped with a heart. A classic font, modestly proportioned, with the well-bred rectitude of an ace of hearts. The idea came from Mattiussi’s doodling on a notepad next to the phone when he was young. And when his fashion label was created, the A attached to its heart became a form of signage, expanded by two colored stamps: a red version, “j’aime bien” (I like it); and a black version, “j’aime bien, mais j’aime moins bien” (I like it but I like it less) (meaning, “we’re still looking”). Little by little, the mark became a message. The hidden part of the iceberg, as it were: “I wanted this sign of the ace of hearts to conjure up the traditional game of cards,” he says. “The kind you can play at any age, with friends or among residents in an old folks’ home. The kind of friendly, warm-hearted game that brings people together, and which corresponds to who we are.” And when it joined Mattiussi’s little family, the logo was even baptized: they called it Ami de Cœur (friend of the heart, or bosom buddy).

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