“Do, do and do. I was for too long concerned about doing it right or being legit. But the only way to get comfortable with your design, is to make projects, to learn, to ask for advice, to reach out to people and keep doing and doing.“
MATES: Hi Lou, glad that you take your time for the interview. First of all, would you be so kind to introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your work as a graphic designer.
Lou: Of course – my name is Lou Hillereau and I am a French, Berlin-based visual designer providing creative direction, visual strategy, art direction and design. My work practice combines an analytic approach with a visual sensibility to develop innovative ideas, consistent systems and unique atmospheres. I moved to Berlin more than 6 years ago, after finishing my master’s degree in France. I started with internships, made my way to a job and I am finally working as a freelancer. Since one year, I am running The Design Kids Berlin as a co-host with Jessie Sandbrook.
MATES: Which 3 words describes your first years after graduating art school best?
Lou: No. Fucking. Idea. What. I. Am. Doing. Ok, it’s more than 3 words. And it is ok not knowing for a while, as long as you have a feeling you like it and keep pushing forward. Things never gonna feel 100% right or meant to be, or maybe it is just me being unlucky with that, but if you mostly like what you do, things are gonna get better and you will really enjoy the ride.
MATES: What was the biggest professional challenge you conquered so far?
Lou: To find work in a foreign country. Where I come from, we graduate way earlier than in Germany, like years earlier. Nobody in Berlin was ready to give me a job, as I was 23 years old, even though I had a master’s degree, did a bunch of internships and had at least one year of industry experience, for them I still looked like a baby.
It took me some time, but on the plus side, I have now way more work experience and knowledge of what I do and want, than most of my same-age friends. I am already facing what, I think, will be the biggest professional challenge of my carrier, which is launching my own studio.
MATES: What advice do you have for young graphic designers who want to get started in the creative industry?
Lou: Do, do and do. I was for too long concerned about doing it right or being legit. But the only way to get comfortable with your design, is to make projects, to learn, to ask for advice, to reach out to people and keep doing and doing. Your work will get better on the way and you will struggle way less than by torturing yourself alone in front of your computer. Nobody can do it on their own, we are all shaped by our peers, our experiences and our failed attempts.
MATES: You’re also the City Co-Host for The Design Kids (TDK) Berlin. Can you tell us more about the work of TDK and how it supports young creatives on their way?
Lou: The Design Kids mainly provides students and young graduates with resources and tools to be the best prepared to enter the design industry. TDK website is full of interviews with industry peeps, young designers, has a job platform and a school directory for many cities worldwide. The Design Kids also offer workshops and bootcamps, where you get help to shape your folio and job search strategy.
MATES: As City Co-Host for TDK Berlin, what are your tasks? Can you tell us more about it?
Lou: That is actually my main job and connection with The Design Kids. I became a city co-host about one year ago, when my dear friend Jessie was looking for some help with TDK Berlin. Our job is to help create and shape a design community in Berlin, and mostly to organize monthly events, #TDKTuesdays, every first Tuesday of the month. We throw workshops, invite speakers, do studio tours, organize meet-ups… Anything that can allow young designers to have a better view of the industry, can help them connect with their peers or simply keep them inspired and motivated. It is a lot of blank emailing and trying to get people involved. The Design Kids is pretty new in Europe, so it is quite a challenge to get the name out there. We try our best to connect with as many people as we can, and hope that when we will hand it over to the next hosts, the name will have spread out and their job will be easier.
MATES: From your experience, what are most important ingredients for building a strong and sustainable community?
Lou: Being ready to share. Share tips, events, thoughts… Share connections, link peoples. When you share what you can to help people out, they feel involved and ready to share something to. Community is just a bunch of people sharing stuffs with each other, in order to help everybody go further and higher. Being present and constant is also part of it. It is a huge challenge for Jessie and me, as we both work full time as freelance designers, but it is worth it.
MATES: THE DESIGN KIDS are currenty looking for a Munich city host to support the local TDK community. Can you tell us more about the position? (requirements, general tasks, time spent…) ?
Lou: Your job is to connect young designers to the industry, as well as educate and inspire your community. We recently got relieved from some side task to really focus on making #TDKTuesdays happenings once a month and creating and maintaining a community (which we do mostly via Facebook, here in Berlin). It’s means that your only job will be to organize the events and share knowledge and tips with your community. Some events take a lot of time, some are easier, but globally after a while you start to have a TDK network worked out and things are quicker. In Australia and NZ, hosts don’t even have to struggle to find speakers or studios to visit, everybody know and say yes to TDK. The best side is that you get to be connected to a lot of your city design scene, and it can only turn to your advantage. You also grow further by developing your social skills, which is actually a key skill to work as a freelancer!
MATES: Thank you so much for your time and the great insights.
Du findest das klingt super und du möchtest die TDK Community in München aktiv mitgestalten? Good for you, denn THE DESIGN KIDS sind aktuell lauf der Suche nach einer/einem Munich Host, der/die TDK in München vertritt und junge Grafikdesigner*innen vor Ort connected. HIER erfährst du mehr dazu!