Judging an international design competition is no easy task. It takes a special kind of person that is willing to give their time and experience for the betterment of the industry.

It's time to shine a spotlight on these special individuals and dig a little deeper to see what makes them tick. Therefore, on behalf of the CSSDA founders and crew, please enjoy the following interview with one of our esteemed judging panel members.

In A Nutshell:

Today we welcome Jean-François Thériault from lg2 to the hotseat. Jean is an artistic director for lg2 and has been working there for 8 years. "When I got hired there were only two digital creatives and the team has now expanded to a point where I can't even tell how many of us we are lol".

Time Warp:

1. When and what was your first ever computer? Can you remember the spec?

My first computer was a Mac LC580 with a 33 MHz processor, 8 MB of RAM, a 500 MB hard drive and a 640X480 display. I remember I paid over $2000 Canadian dollars for it back in 1996. It took almost all of my summer job earnings to buy it. I remember using Netscape 2 and Photoshop 3 on this machine! It was blazing fast. I did my first websites on there too with Claris Homepage.

2. When and what was the first website you were involved in designing/developing? Which elements of the project did you do? Can you remember the 'cutting edge' tech used at the time? How did the site turn out and what did this experience teach you?

The first website I did as an employee was for a French Canadian website called Francocine. I remember creating those colorful and heavy image titles that involved way too many pictures and weird fonts. I also did the coding and created the 'style sheets'. The website is non-existent now. I can't even find traces of it on Google. This project helped me a lot with my coding skills. I remember it involved a lot of tables, transparent GIF spacers and old layout techniques that no one uses anymore today.

3. Which project has been most rewarding for you over the course of your career and why?

The most rewarding project was a Flash based website I did for Bell Canada. We had a huge studio where we shot complex footage that was merged with 3D techniques. We won several awards with this website including our very first award.

4. What career advice would you give to yourself if you could send a 'temporal text' 5 - 10 years into the past?

Stay healthy, stay positive, never give up.

5. Better still, if you had your own hot tub time machine, what time period would you travel to and why?

I'd go into the future. The past is in the past and there is nothing I can do about it. I'd go answer some of my questions about technology, humanity and environment. I'd go see if we did good or not.

Favourite Things:

1. What are your favourite aspects about working in design?

Fulfilling my need to be creative and working with other creatives.

2. What are your favourite design tools, sites, fonts and resources right now?

Of course Photoshop and Illustrator are the main tools I use on a daily basis. I also watch several blogs which cover architecture, digital design, packaging, interior design. Sites include Pinterest, thedieline, allanpeters.com, typetoy, fontinuse, typewolf, archdaily, contemporist to name just a few.

3. What are your favorite devices right now from mobile to desktop?

My iPhone to connect and be social, my tablet to explore and play, my desktop to create.

4. Which 3 cities would be your favorite to open an office in and why?

This is a tough question for me because I haven't traveled much. The first city would certainly be Montreal because this is where the majority of my contacts and my resources are located. The second city would probably San Francisco for temperature and the vibe of the city, everybody seems so Zen in San Francisco. The third place would be in the small village of Saint-Didace where our cottage is. Wouldn't it be just perfect to work by the lake?

5. What is your favorite activity outside of work?

Working out, staying healthy and going out to the cottage on the weekends ;)

Life Hacks:

1. How do you stay motivated?

I don't know how I stay motivated. I think that motivation is the result of several things. It's like a recipe with many ingredients. Personally to keep myself motivated I try to be positive as much as possible. Also the moments I find myself the most motivated are usually the moments where I have high confidence in myself.

2. Do you have a good life/work balance? Could it be improved? If so how?

I still struggle to get it perfectly balanced but I’m pretty close to it. Days of 30 hours would be great.

3. Do you have any career advice for young designers and developers?

Don't be afraid to fail. If you find yourself in a moment when creativity won't come to you, stay up late and don't go to bed. It will come to you.

4. How do you keep up with the latest trends & tech?

Pretty much like everybody, blogs, articles. But the most come from our group of creatives, we are geeks and we love to learn new stuff everyday. If someone finds something cool then we instantly share it with the others around.

5. If money was abolished and nobody needed to work anymore, what would you do with your life?

I would build my own house and grow my own vegetables, I would even have my own chicken coop. I'm a DIY guy.

Versus: In your opinion...

1. Are great designers born Vs. made by experience?

I'd say born.

2. Is the best long term goal to be a founder Vs. freelance Vs. full­time job?

I work for an advertising agency. I will probably be obsolete pretty fast lol, next thing for me would be freelance.

3. iPhone 6s vs Samsung S6 vs other?

Samsung for the innovation, iPhone to make it accessible to everybody.

4. Printed book vs eBook?

Printed books.

5. Star Trek vs Star Wars?

Star Wars.

Jean-Francois is Interactive Artistic Director for lg2 with 17+ years of experience and has received numerous awards and distinctions. Lg2 is a Canadian integrated advertising agency. Our philosophy - Think like a brand. Act like a retailer.