Romain Briaux was born in 1989, and at only 30 years old, his trajectory is impressive. When he is asked how he describes himself, he responds, “designer but in a broad sense”. His projects? They are numerous and not solely digital-related. Exclusive interview for évolt, thank you Romain!
Can you tell us about your journey and your experiences?
I studied at HETIC, a school specializing in web careers. What I appreciated above all is that it’s an education which allows you to discover all the digital skills: design, marketing, development, etc. I spent my 5th year undertaking a vocational placement within the agency UZIK, specializing in the luxury sector. There, I worked on interesting projects, major customer accounts such as LVMH and Paco Rabanne and also cultural projects for France TV and Arte. Then, I joined the Napoleon Agency, an agency specializing in user experience, where I was able to develop my approach to design. I spent six months there.
Following this, I wanted to go abroad to improve my English. I took an opportunity in London at Impero, an agency where I was doing motion design and 3D. And there, although I wasn’t expecting it, I received an offer to go to New York and work with UENO, an international agency with a large pool of clients including Uber, Facebook, Google, Dropbox, etc. I was able to work on products and websites, and was given the opportunity to deepen my knowledge in 3D. It was an amazing experience! For about 1 year, I have been back in France. I have freelance work and, alongside that, I have joined with my friend Vincent to create the HERVE agency. You should hear about it soon, we’re still working on the branding of this new design studio.
How do you define yourself? Would you call yourself a designer?
It’s not easy to answer this question. We like to put labels on the people we meet, to put them into boxes. So yes, I’m a designer, but in the broad sense of the term. I believe that a designer doesn’t just deal with the aesthetic side of things, they must also consider “functionality”. Sometimes I say that I’m an Artistic Director, in the sense that I give a project its creative direction.
Customers’ perception of design has changed over the last few years. When we discuss user tests and UX design with them, they recognize a little of what we are talking about. It’s certainly down to the emergence of startups. When I worked at UENO, we created “THE INTERVIEW”, a fun recruitment program. It consisted of an experience that depicted the agency’s employees, with whom users could interact until they got to the level of Halli, the boss. My last job was for LUNCHR with two other freelancers, working on 3D illustrations inspired by members of the team to make a marketing website feel more human. For Evolt, with the precious help of Valentin and Jonathan, I designed illustrations of design superheroes’ tools in order to highlight their various abilities. Design is truly a multifaceted profession! What are your sources of design inspiration?
I actually follow a specific process. First, I start off with a mood board, I like using Pinterest to create boards for various themes. The image recognition algorithm is highly developed and that allows me to bring images of the same graphical style together to inspire me. I also use other sources like Tumblr or search Google to find information on certain artistic trends in particular. Then, in the mood board, I add typography, color, shapes, etc.
Next is the UX reflection phase. This is the stage I enjoy the most as I concentrate on meaning. Then there is the production phase where strictly speaking I will be able to test the ease of use of whatever I come up with. But at every step, my role as a designer is to do everything possible to best understand the objective of the client, in order to suggest a solution for them which is both aesthetic and useful.
What do you think your projects will be like in the future?
What I can say is that the nature of my projects has changed a lot over the last few years Clients have less and less need for websites which only function as shop windows. Of course it’s good to have a site, but it’s not much good if it doesn’t rank very highly in search engines. In certain sectors of activities, it’s more worthwhile to refocus on particular tools which are very effective, such as social media. What I would like to do in the future is to use digital tools to sell, but in a different, more tangible way, by creating relationships with clients. At the moment it’s still at the project stage, though, so hush…
Crédit Photo Romain Briaux – @ueno