Julien Vallée
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
I always wanted to make sure that the clients or agencies I was working with felt that I knew exactly what I was doing. I said yes to almost any requests that they would ask (unless it was against personal values) in fear looking like I was not capable of doing it. Over the years these things started to be the complete opposite: Most of the work we do at the studio is driven by the quest of experimenting and trying things we don’t control, and I learned that saying yes for things I don’t believe would make the project better actually make it worst.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
Be pretentious and think that you are better than everyone else. Copy the work of everyone, say that you could do better when looking at an art piece, speak against the work of other artists.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
Since I was out of school, I’ve been working as a freelancer. I always liked to do more than one thing. I like the contact with clients, I like taking care of the studio space, I like the creative part of the projects and do photoshop on final images. I don’t know why I am still in quest of understanding exactly how it should be to be a graphic designer or a director. The reason why I wanted to work as a freelancer was to have this possibility to do more than one thing instead of focusing on one task. Sometimes there is still part of my brain that thinks that in the future, someone will sit in front of me and explain precisely what my schedule should be, how I should make presentation to client, what I should say in conferences. I eventually started a studio more than a year ago, I think this might have actually be even worst. Right now I have to be in front of people I hire and pretend I know exactly how to manage a creative business. I’m glad that there is no precise guide or rules I should follow about this. Because if there is only one way, I might just change career.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
I always find it hard to work on regular schedules. But society is based on a system where most people work from 9 to 6. I can’t schedule “find ideas for this project” in a calendar and I recently stop bothering about it. I found that the best solution is to keep a journal or a sketch book. I write any ideas I might have in there. They usually happen when I’m doing something else but I try to take the time to write them down or sketch them. When a project comes in, I go trough this journal. One idea in there is usually the starting point of these new projects.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
Play  by Stuart Brown. I recommend it to anyone in fact. It’s hard to remember sometimes that pure moments of play are more efficient in the long run than working more hours.
Breakthrough!: Proven Strategy to Overcome Creative Block and Spark Your Imagination  by Alex Cornell. The title says it all! There are more strategies used by high caliber designers than you would ever needs. Tough sometimes nothing works against a blank!
Damn Good Advice  by George Lois. This book looks into the mind of one of America’s most legendary creative thinkers, George Lois.
Julien answered the questions on November 17, 2014.
The answers were published on November 28, 2014.