Self trained graphic designer, Julien Van Havere leads DesignPractice and curates SearchSystem. Total eye candy! Julien shares with us his journey into design and a different take on what he seeks in a folio.
What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design? I think I was around 15 or 16 when I knew I wanted to become a designer. As my father had a background in industrial design (although never finished his studies), he would talk about the functionality of an object over its form and for whom it would be designed. I would draw objects, furniture, lamps, etc and would show it to him. This triggered discussions and thoughts. Back then I didn’t know this would shape the way I do and see Design.
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do. I’m a designer and entrepreneur who has made his way through self-teaching and passion for design. I have backgrounds in interior design, packaging, product and furniture design as assistant designer for architect Alain Berteau. I developed my skills as a brand, graphic and web designer as founder and partner of Modern Practice/Theory. I’m currently running DesignPractice™, a design consultancy and a platform to develop initiatives and collaborations, SearchSystem™ an ever-growing collection of references, Aestate, an online resource with a focus on interior design and architecture and, Magasin Des Objets Usuels, an online store offering a range of everyday objects selected for their functionality and timelessness.
What are your three must-read design books/blogs/podcasts and why?
‘How To Be A Graphic Designers Without Losing Your Soul‘ by Adrian Shaughnessy.
This book is probably one of the best books on graphic design. It’s also the only book I’m going back to even 10 years after.
SearchSystem™ — Is a collection of references curated by myself and indexed by the studio. It is our own blog/resource but it is where we spend the most time on. Every intern starts here by indexing references. It is an excellent exercise to broaden your visual language, evaluate their research skills and a guideline of excellency.
Visuelle — It’s one of the few blogs that still exists and is still relevant in content.
What do you look for in a great portfolio? References. I’m much more interested by the references of a candidate than by its portfolio. When students send their portfolio I don’t expect ground breaking work. But their references, are saying something about them. References are shaping their visual language. They will be triggers for discussions. If we speak the same language we can understand each other. Ergo we can collaborate.
What advice would you give students starting out?
Build your visual language, learn your design history.
Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?
Have a website up and running.