Featured Illustrator

Clémence Gouy

June 2018

We chat with Nantes based Graphic Designer & Illustrator Clémence Gouy about her studies at École de Communication Visuelle of Nantes, creating her own coloring books as a child, and she reaffirms some great advice — 'Don't wait for your last year of study to start putting your work on the internet' (You heard her - get tagging people #TDKpeepshow 😉 )

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I'm currently in my last year at École de Communication Visuelle of Nantes, France, where I've studied graphic design and art direction for 5 years. I also spent a semester studying Fashion marketing at Falmouth University in England. Since I'm just about to be graduated, for now my work experience mostly consists of interships in several design agencies in Paris and Montreal. But I've been lucky enough to be commisioned by various clients for freelance work while still in school. One of my favorite first jobs included poster design for the Crazy Horse Paris.

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?

Back in kindergarten, I was drawing a lot. According to my mum, who is also an illustrator, I would spend hours filling sketchbooks with characters from my imagination. Even at school, I would rather create my own pictures for me to color than use the coloring book the teacher gave us. For some reasons, I remember this teacher hated it. She would always be in my back, saying pretty disdainful comments. Too bad for her, it only resulted in me drawing even more (also because my mum was there to support me). I guess it was only natural to go to an art school after high school.

I guess I could have pick up an illustration course but there were just too many creative fields I wanted to explore. Graphic design seemed to be the best compromise to try out as many things as possible.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

I'm a graphic designer, but I like to define myself as a storyteller. I indeed love beautiful stories (who doesn't?) thus I make a point in building every project I work on around a strong concept. The rest -identity, branding, editorial design, digital experiences...- is how you give body to this story, making my approach of design very multidisciplinary.

I'm also an illustrator working for magazines, books and various companies.

I especially enjoy working within the fashion and cultural fields, or for people driven by social engagement. I truly believe that visual communication has a big role to play for a more inclusive society.

"

Share with people. The design field can be pretty competitive, but staying on your own is quickly limiting.

"

Who are your top five design crushes right now?

They are so many and it's hard to pick only five, but here are some crazy talented women who are true inspiration to me :

  • Jessica Walsh : She's a reference in the design community, I love how she seems to make her way through the international scene without caring about people's opinion. She doesn't have time for that shit.

  • Roanne Adams : Expert vision and sharp strategy, she know what she's talking about. She's a girl boss.

  • Leslie David : she's not only good in many fields, she's also trend setter

  • Marta Veludo : bold colors and fresh aesthetic, her style is unique

  • Laura Normand : Graphic design doesn't seem to be her work but an everyday playground

What advice would you give students starting out?

\1. Share with people. The design field can be pretty competitive, but staying on your own is quickly limiting. Ideas become stronger when shared, and who knows? You might find your future collaborators among your classmates.

\2. Have personal projects. Using your skills in what you like is the best way to develop your own style and personality. It's also a great exercise to work within your own constraint and experiment things you don't necessarily have the opportunity to do at school.

\4. Be active on social media. Don't wait for your last year of study to start putting your work on the internet. Whether it's a cool custom website, a Behance portfolio or simply an Instagram account, start your own little space somewhere as soon as you can. You never know what awesome opportunities can come from people discovering your work online.

Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

To be honest, I'm not so sure about my plans for next year. Life after school is at least as exciting as scary. So far, my plan was to find a job in a cool design studio right after graduation. But lately I started to have more and more freelance opportunities, so it makes me consider giving it a try. In the future, I'd like to have my own creative studio, working with inspiring people and friends, maybe developing for real the project I've been working on for my diploma. For now, I want to broaden my creative horizons by working abroad, seize as much opportunities as possible, keep on learning new things and just see what life has to offer!

Website: behance.net/clemencegouy

Instagram: @clemgouy

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