Category A09. Creative Data Collection & Research
Idea Creation FF PARIS, FRANCE
Name Company Position
Hervé François Historial de la Grande Guerre Directeur du musée l'Historial de la Grande Guerre
Nathalie Clin Historial de la Grande Guerre Responsable Service « Accueil des Publics » et « Médiateurs-Guides »
Fred & Farid Fred & Farid FF Founders / CEO
Olivier Lefebvre FF CEO - Partner
Etienne Renaux FF Creative Director
François Claux FF Art Director
Yann Rougeron FF Art Director
Camille Sainson FF Art Director
Emilien Point FF Art Director
Sonia Dos Santos FF Art Director
Julien Beuvry FF Art Director
Lucia Otero FF Assistant Art director
François Claux FF Copywriter
Yann Rougeron FF Copywriter
Camille Sainson FF Copywriter
Emilien Point FF Copywriter
Sonia Dos Santos FF Copywriter
Julien Beuvry FF Copywriter
Leslie Hatchwell FF Account
Caroline Tang FF Digital art director
Johanna Mangote FF Event art director
Jim Tran FF Head of production
Arthur Gaudrie FF Chief technical officer
Marie Séjournant FF Social media strategist

Why is this work relevant for Creative Data?

The creation of the Unknown Face would not have been possible without the acquisition and processing of several thousands of data characterized by portraits of women and men who took part in the First World War. During that time, it was almost impossible to sustainably preserve this data because the vast majority was destroyed in the conflict. Over 10 months were needed to collect the 30,000 portraits of soldiers, nurses or civilians. This was made possible thanks to the contribution of hundreds of stakeholders from all around the world to create, the Face Unknown.


The Historial of the Great War at Péronne in the Somme is the largest museum dedicated to the 1st World War in France. Its collections showcase the cultural, social and military dimension of this important and cruel chapter of History. In 2018, the Historial wanted to set up a major project around the theme of ‘Peace to fight’, 100 years after the signing of the Armistice, on November the 11th of 1918, against all current geopolitical tensions. At a time when extremism and nationalism are plaguing the whole world, the younger generations must never forget past mistakes so as not to reproduce them in the future.

Describe the Creative idea / data solution (20% of vote)

In the aftermath of World War I, France buried the tomb of an Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. This national military monument is dedicated to the memory of all fallen soldiers during the Great War. 100 years later, we made this symbol of War, a universal symbol of Peace for the younger generations by giving a face to the Unknown Soldier. A face composed of 30,000 men, women, soldiers, nurses or civilians, winners and losers, regardless of their nationality or their origins: the Unknown Face. This face took the form of an interactive and digital work permanently exhibited in the galleries of the Historial.

Describe the data driven strategy (30% of vote)

Our goal was to create a project which would draw the attention of a disinterested younger generation and public opinion through a contextual and technological approach. To achieve this, we launched a call for contribution to collect as much data as possible from all over the world; Museums, collectors, individuals, world archives. In total, more than 19 countries have contributed to providing us with thousands of authentic portraits from the 1st World War. The Unknown Face was conceptualized to move people internationally and especially in the countries who participated in WWI. This is where most descendants of WWI fighters are. We made sure to collaborate with historians, collectors and specialists for our project in order to give more strength to our message. For our campaign to become viral, we asked the French President to inaugurate the work the greatest influencers and specialists of History in France by his side.

Describe the creative use of data, or how the data enhanced the creative output (30% of vote)

It took several months to gather enough data to have a significant end result. But to be able to design the Unknown Face, we first had to isolate each portrait from its initial support. There is almost no cliché of a single portrait dating from the first world war. The majority of the images we have used come from old army registers, battalion guest books, or medical fact sheets. A team specialized in the handling of centennial works, scanned and digitized with care, each portrait that the documents contained and then processed them digitally. We have developed an algorithm capable of superimposing one by one the 30,000 portraits obtained, to create a final synthesis.

List the data driven results (20% of vote)

As soon as it was launched, the “Unknown Face” was met by praise from the global media and public opinion: a very wide media coverage with more than 120 national and international press covers. In total, we reached more than 700 million people. Thanks to the project’s success, visits of the museum rose by 47% in November 2018. 35% of their new public came from younger generations who spent 4 minutes on average watching the Unknown Face and its portraits. The most impressive reaction was the participation of French President E. Macron, who shared the project on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. But the most important result is the fact that the Unknown Face, thanks to the richness of the Data, will now be part of the educational program for the younger generations and will appear in the history books of all high schools in France starting September 2019.