Time Warp:

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

I believe it was an Apple iMac (in blueberry). I was beyond excited getting my hands on it. It was also dial-up internet connection back then. Interesting age.

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?

I believe it was the website of the fashion publication I was working for at the time (on photoshoot production, and magazine layout). I did the entire thing: information architecture, design, integration, and development (on Dreamweaver™, yes my friend...), which was really really basic at the time.

There must have been a little bit of Flash™ in there too to spice things up (I was definitely having a « moment » with Flash). It must have been back in early 2004. It turned out ok I guess though it definitely taught me you can’t do everything, and have to rely on other talented people with complementary specialties.

I definitely learned a lot about css, html and javascript. Although this is definitely not my strong suit, I love to be able to understand how to build things before designing them. Same thing with print. You have to learn about printing techniques, papers, binding, etc. Although you’re obviously not gonna print and bind the object yourself (but again I loved to do it myself in art school), it's definitely important to have perspective and understanding of what technique/technology is available to you at the time and how to use it purposefully.

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

Probably the Guerlain Make-up project. I was exactly were I wanted to be. Product design, luxury beauty, editorial content.

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

This is all gonna pay off, don’t sweat the small stuff, trust your instincts, be yourself and keep up the good work!

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

I’m not nostalgic of any sort of era. I’m fascinated by art during Antiquity (esp. bizantine art), and Renaissance, but I am definitely not fascinated by women’s status in society back then.

Favorite Things:

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

I get to exercise my aesthetic muscle everyday. Learning everyday. Never a dull moment.

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

Hardcore Photoshop™ (haven't tried Sketch™ just yet, have to though) + plugins such as uberplugins or. Invision™/Origami™/Marvel™ are pretty useful prototyping tools.

Reed™ for RSS. Pinterest™ is definitely a fave. Oh and also Hyperloop, awesome platform that allows you to save and organise gorgeous websites. Yesyesyall for music video. Spotify+sonos for music without video. Twitter to stay in the loop of things.

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

iMac, MacBook Pro, iPhone

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

  • Los Angeles: palm trees, old Hollywood glam', subculture, architecture, weather, space.
  • Portland: I hear it's a designer's mecca/heaven. It’s probably the North American equivalent of the choice I made almost 10 years ago to live about an hour outside Paris in the Loire Valley for the superb quality of life.
  • London: Europe, fashion, spirit, energy, architecture, culture, cutting edge designers, studios and agencies, close/far enough to/from Paris.

Life Hacks:

1. How do you stay motivated?

Making a living and a life, taking pride on what I do. Gotta make that dough ;)

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

I believed for a long time it was bad, but I realized I've managed to control the workflow being a freelancer and a mom at a somewhat young age (25). It's definitely helped learn how to say no and take days off and/or vacay after big projects, I'm definitely an advocate to not allow work to take over everything. I need some me time, I've got a kid to raise, a husband, friends, and family I wanna spend time with. Work is work. You have to set strong limits and make time for you and your family/friends. Although it’s really easy to get « sucked in » a project and dive yourself in it entirely. But it's no good, neither for you nor the project.

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

Keep up with the Joneses: it's an extremely fast moving culture and environment, which doesn't allow you to get too comfortable, but you gotta stay on top of things. Find what you’re super duper good at / sweet spot (your ‘niche’). Although everybody will deny it, people easily put you in a box, so you better be choosing that box yourself + Don't hesitate to get out of that box, if it doesn't fit you anymore or gets too claustrophobic. Get some sleep. Have a life.

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

Selected RSS feed on Reed™ + a little conference/fest here and there and social networks.

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

Travel, yoga, decoration, photography, basically all I do in my free time.

Versus: In your opinion...

1. Are great designers born vs made by experience?

I believe some people are definitely born with a strong aesthetic sense - let me rephrase that – are more sensitive aesthetically speaking (eye pleasure stimulation) + develop some sort of despotic tendencies. It's a good place to start a design career, that muscle needs to be flexed though, you have to be curious, get educated/cultivated, try & fail, try & succeed. Don’t limit yourself to one field of design, stay open and curious to fashion, architecture, objects, publications, film, photo.

2. The best long term goal is to be a founder vs freelance vs full-time job?

Tricky question as I am currently celebrating (and questioning) my 12 year anniversary as a freelancer. How long can you stay relevant as an art director / designer without having to somehow « manage » people as a creative director or design director (?). I think I’m ready to challenge this comfortable zone I’ve been in.

3. iPhone 6s vs Samsung S6 vs other?

iPhone 6S no questions about it.

4. Printed book vs eBook?

Printed. You gotta have some time away from screens at some point and smell the delicate ink fragrance of the printed paper book.

5. Star Trek vs Star Wars?

Star Wars, come on.

Thanks for your time. Any last words?

Peace.

Virginie is a freelance Art Director and Designer a.k.a. Fluonoir, with a primary focus on digital for fashion, beauty, luxury, arts & culture, and over 11 years' experience working with agencies and brands.