Press • 18 11 2019

Spotlight on Jérôme Marcesche’s colour studio

An article written by Amelle Nebia in the November 2019 issue of CB News shines a light on the colourful world of Jérôme Marcesche’s colour studio!

To read the original article in French, click here!

In the office of Jérôme Marcesche: A bright autumn afternoon in the “lair” of Dragon Rouge’s colour specialist.

Starry-eyed and deeply moved – these are the first emotions experienced when coming face-to-face with the immense wall of coloured bottles (1). There are 2,500 of them, the work of Jérôme Marcesche, head of Dragon Rouge’s colour studio, from 30 years of service. It is here that the colours of many brands were born (Le Petit Marseillais, René Futerer, Carte Noire, Perrier, or 1664, to name a few).

The self-taught craftsman creates between fifty and sixty of them per month, with his veritable eye for colour, like an ear for music. “We don’t take shortcuts with colour! Colour does not exist without material; paper, glass, plastic or iron do not take on colours in the same way,” he explains, “A CMYK colour model is not attractive. I work with Pantone colour and have developed my own library so as to have no limits in creation. The colour spectrum is instinctive for me”.

This workspace, in which he works alone and always standing, is a laboratory. There are dryers, a mini shower for removing chemicals, an odd sort of UV machine called a contact copier, wire bars to spread the colour and a neon light above the workbench (2) that perfectly reproduces daylight. “We are the only agency to have one. This type of neon light only exists in the aviation industry to check the hues of the fuselage”.

What interests him is not the “poetry of colours, but their numbers”. As he never writes anything down, he keeps samples in a cabinet and in binders away from light. The colours of a brand cannot change from one year to the next. The chemistry involved is therefore very complex and lies between photography techniques and printing. “I don’t create just a particular colour, but a range, a system”. For Perrier, for example, “after the mint and lime flavours, the brand decided to offer ‘green apple’. We have to think of another green that harmonises with the others”. (3) He admits to continually trying to crack the code of creating the blackest black – a small, charred pine code on a red sheet of paper sits on the workbench in evidence.

Jérôme Marcesche is a popular figure at the agency, known for his good repartee, good zingers and good music. A busted little radio, with a pair of scissors acting as an antenna, is always tuned to Oûi FM, “the only station that plays rock!”

Despite the fact that the studio is very clean, it is a true crossing point. “I work with all the agency’s departments, from packaging, to corporate and consumer branding, and even architecture”. The discreet mention of ‘Café des Sports’ testifies to this. “A while ago, I would arrive every morning with the sports newspaper ‘L’Équipe’ under my arm. We’d discuss sport and rugby in particular”. And then one day, in 2008, the newspaper took the liberty of publishing an “inappropriate” analysis of a rugby match. He now longer purchases it, period. His stature, hidden in a white coat, is evidence of a rugby player’s past. He shares this passion today as vice-president and coach of the Puteaux club for under-16s and under-18s. “I’m at the stadium pretty much every night.” Some people find rugby to be a poetic sport. Like colours. At this idea, he breaks into laughter.

What interests him is not the "poetry of colours, but their numbers". Amelle Nebia