What does it mean to be a graphic designer?
It is to glorify a product. It is to give an identity to something, essentially visual but not that. It is also to conceptualize a communication. We have to create ideas, thoughts which will be interpreted. All the challenge is there, because the main part of the message must be collected and received. We always have to adapt ourselves to a determined target or certain public.
How long have you done this job?
For a long time. I have created drawings when I was in my mother’s womb. This year will be 13 years, as pro. We add four years if we count the studies.
Did you always want it?
When I was a child, I wanted to become a fighter pilot, but I do not have good eyesight. I adore planes…the freedom. It is a magnificent thing so heavy which can fly away like that.
Afterward, I wanted to be an automobile designer. The enjoyments of the orientation made me become a graphic designer.
What is your objective?
There is no need of objective. When you are a graphic designer, you can always reinvent. Even after ten years.
What is your job?
I was born in Martinique and I made all my schooling there, at Victor Schœlcher high school. It signed the decree of slavery abolition. Before spreading on islands, the revolt began in Martinique. Everyone does not know it.
I was a good student until I realize that the bare minimum was enough … I am often in competition with my laziness. I was bored, except with history and geography. Unfortunately, I have identified it later.
After obtaining my diploma, I left Martinique to Marseille, to start my studies. I have pursued for one year the upgrade program (drawing, illustration, art history, ...), then two years the specialization in pub and visual communication in a private school in Marseille. But honestly, I especially learnt alone, on the heap. I was surrounded with bourgeois who had found some light there. Some of them were ignorant but for all that condescending: "which language do they speak in Martinique? […] Are there jobs?". One of them called me "Coconut" during one year. Because of coconut, islands, all things. A very eloquent boy. I did not give it the right, my only regret.
As outlets in the advertising are rare, I came to Paris for a pro contract in Web and to widen my panel of skills. After that, I came down again in Marseille. In November, we can have a walk in T-shirt.
Otherwise, I made an alternation in Paris and an internship in London. But with hindsight, the best of my experience has nothing to do with my graphic designer's job. I worked at Quick during my studies. It was a very good human experience. And then, there are stakes that you do not suspect for a sandwich …so many things can take place.
What are the major differences between the print and Web?
You do not work with the same support. The print, you cannot crash. The support is fixed and sluggish thus you don’t have the same apprehension of the project. Your support will not evolve, once it’s done. And then, many senses intervene. You can play with the touch, choose a brilliant or matt varnish, a lamination. You get the smell of paper involved in the ink. The sensory experience can be complete.
In Web, knowing that the virtual replaces all this, you have to double creativity. You find yourself with a simple screen and as people do not stay thousand years on a page, it is necessary to find a good way to give the information in a split second.
It is just like the current company which says: you do not have the product which you need, the girl whom you want? You're off. People do not take time anymore.
Do you use social networks to communicate in your work (Dribbble, Behance, ...)?
I post stuff on Behance, a platform for graphic designer, just to have a support to present what I'm doing. But as a general rule, I use no social network.
Finally if, Facebook, just to look at. In my opinion, it is some powder with eyes and a way to keep watch over the population. I am suspicious of the virtuality, I prefer the reality.
I like the sophisticated, the simple, the concrete and the minimalism. If I have to quote names: Stephan Muntaner, a major figure in Marseille of the design, I made an internship. It is endowed in many things as the editing, the realization and the illustration.
I also appreciate the work of Ruedi Baur, a specialist of the typography. I adore the typography, where just the feature is enough for delivering a message. Banksy, because it is creative. Mondrian, the spirit of the Bauhaus, the art deco tendency, Klimt and the posters of Russian propaganda. I had the opportunity to see what is exposed in London. I like the expression of the red and the revolution. I always like the red. I had a red overall when I was a child and I adored it.
What are the freelance’s advantages and the inconveniences when we are a graphic designer?
As to the principle, there are no differences between the freelance and the company. You always have deadlines and customers. Then, when you are independent, you have no boss and you choose people for whom you work if you can afford. But you don’t have social security, the job security, either and it is necessary to be very organized, commercial, trading. In addition to that, everything only works in network. There is a competition in terms of quality, but especially the price. The graphic designers tend to dispose because the design is still little considered towards what costs. In other countries, in equal skills, the recruiters are more going to linger over your CV and your experience than your address book.
This environment, as many other, has the glass ceiling …and a social ladder which does not work.
Which creation are you most proud of?
When I belonged in alternation to Paris ( Junior DA), we had to one day deliver a model for the Swiss laboratories Teoxane. My proposal was retained. I won it in front of the Senior DA.
What is a bad graphic designer like?
There is no voucher or bad graphic designer, it is too relative. But I shall say that the good graphic designer uses the simplicity and delicacy and leaves nothing at random. The devil hides in details.
When is the death of the graphic designer for?
Never. In our company which gives bonus, we shall always need graphic designers. On the other hand, certain techniques as design motion or the increased reality are inevitably going to entail transfers in our activity and modify it.
Do you sometimes think of a retraining?
Yes. I would like to return to the concrete, more reality, maybe become a Leader, because in the cooking there are the creative, visual, a set of requirements and we exploit all the senses. Or carpenter, like Jesus! Carpenter and graphic designer, finally are almost the same: that you make an idea a support or a piece of wood, a roof, you create something.
Article written by Pauline Carpentier