PageCrush would like to take moment and introduce another fantastic designer to the Crush Reviews. As Creative Director of Media 8, Julien Tauban has brought a wealth of knowledge and rich experiences to interactive design. Julien was born in France during the 70’s and has worked his way up, obtaining the necessary skills in life to make the magic in his career come alive. Starting young, Julien remembers having a real obsession for painting and drawing. Although painting was his first love, he soon realized that making ends meet as a fulltime artist would prove to be a challenge, but he still wanted to weave creativity into his life. For personal reasons, he made the move to Miami Florida where he ventured to start his own shop as a web designer. In 2003 he joined Latin3 and put his design education into practice in a studio setting for the first time. After being promoted Art Director and winning clients such as Sony, Pepsi, Visa, Dell, Aiwa, Starwood, Audi and more, he took his earned knowledge and enjoyed brief stints at Media8 and Avenue A | Razorfish, to return to Media 8 where he can be found creating awe-inspiring creative work today. When Julien isn’t burning brain power at work, he loves spending most of his free time with his two daughters and wife enjoying life.
From small shop design to full blown agencies and freelance in between, Julien has taken his talents to the next level and let creative control his mind. Julien’s work has been featured right here on PageCrush and remained a solid people’s choice “Hot Crush” for two weeks in a row! We’d like to you encourage your passions and hope you enjoy the next 20 minutes by reading about a very unique and inspiring individual, Julien Tauban…
Q. Where are you located?
Miami, FL USA.
Q. Are you considered a firm or freelance designer?
I am a full-time Creative Director at Media 8, an interactive agency focused on engaging Latin Americans and American Latinos online and also a part-time freelance designer for the General market and the European market.
Q. Do you or your firm collaborate with other designers around the world to work on the same projects?
My company has production offices in Argentina. I have also collaborated with designers and developers from Brazil, France and Portugal.
Q. Can you briefly tell us how you got your start in design and the passion that brought you to what you do best?
Ever since I could remember I have had a passion for drawing and the arts. I started painting at the age of 14 and then went to art schools to develop my talents. Early on I realized that it would be difficult to earn a living from painting, so I decided to study Industrial Design and Interaction Design in an effort to apply my love for design to more commercially viable media. As more and more opportunities in Web & Graphic Design were given to me, it became an obvious choice to focus on these two specialties within the broad spectrum of design.
Q. Where do you most likely seek inspiration for design?
Anywhere from sites like this, other agencies and designers, modern art, fashion design, popular media (magazines, books, movies, etc.), and the natural world around us – from just about anything and everything around us. You really never know when or where inspiration will strike so you need to keep your mind open at all times.
Q. Did your college schooling teach you much of what you have learned from real world experience?
College armed me with a universal methodology for designing – regardless of media – that I have since then applied to every domain of design. However, my real world experiences – working at Media 8 and Latin3 before that, along with my freelance work – have given me the opportunity to put those methods into practice and truly sharpen my skills.
Q. What are some of the biggest challenges you have to overcome when working on projects for other clients?
I would say that my biggest challenge is time and planning accordingly without sacrificing quality. Clients can be extremely demanding and often don’t understand that good design takes time to realize. After all, “Rome was not built in one day.”
Q. Here’s the famous question everyone wants to know. How do you deal with clients who just won’t listen to your best advice?
I always try to listen to my clients, so I am sure to deliver initial concepts that meet or exceed their expectations. But I must admit that on occasion my first pass can be a bit off the mark. So I revise my solution until it better matches their vision. What they learn to realize is that my advice isn’t just my opinion; it’s highly informed by what I’ve learned and the fact that I live and breathe design.
Q. Do you experience a lot of competition in your market for web, graphic and identity design?
There are certainly a lot of players in the game these days. I feel that if I focus on doing great work and provide superior service, competition becomes less of an issue. But winning a pitch or RFP is always a great pleasure especially when you beat out some of the bigger agencies.
Q. How do you feel small shop design firms or freelancers come out in the long run when competing against larger agencies?
From a creative standpoint, I think that the greatest and most creative work often come from smaller shops and freelancers – big ideas can come from anywhere. But when it comes to implementing global campaigns, the little guys don’t have the capacity to compete. Larger accounts require lots of dedicated resources that small shops don’t have. I know that some larger agencies have realized this and often look to smaller boutique firms to fill in some of the gaps in their internal skills, which seems like a good compromise and often yields good results.
Q. What do you do to accomplish the growing competition and stay on top?
I think it’s important to never feel too comfortable, so I constantly push myself to improve my work and keep learning new things. This industry changes more often than fashion, and I am always looking for the next best thing.
Q. Do you have any big projects to date that you are most proud of to mention?
I am especially proud of two projects that I worked on during my time at Avenue A | Razorfish. The first was a flash game for AMG Mercedes featuring a snow drift competition and the second was a full video/flash site for Carnival Cruise Lines which enabled you to virtually experience all the cruise activities on-board and on-shore. Another exciting project was a interactive application for The Boeing Company in partnership with Wayfinder. There are also a couple of sites that I did for MTV, VH1 soul and BET at Media 8.
Q. What other clients who exist out there would you most likely love to get ahold of and take on as a project?
I would love to work on something for any sport brand like Nike, Adidas or Quiksilver – that would surely be an exciting experience. I would also like to work on something for a luxury brand like LVMH.
Q. Do you believe the general public isn’t aware of the time, detail and dedication it takes to accomplish projects in this industry? If so, how do we as designers with respect, convey this message?
I don’t think general public realize the complexity of our work at all. Projects aside, this is a constantly evolving industry which requires that we keep up with shifts in technology and consumer expectations among other things. Take PaperVision 3D for example (it allows developers to build flash-based 3D environments): very few people that I have met, except creatives and developers, realize the breakthrough this technology provides and the public will probably never know or know to ask, “was that site built using PaperVision 3D?” The general public doesn’t discern between a multi-million dollar Hollywood blockbuster movie with cutting edge special effects and a 30 KB animated banner. They just know what they like and that’s that. Maybe someday our industry will be more like the film industry, with known and respected directors, producers, etc. – but we rarely get publically credited for our work, so maybe not.
Q. Where do you see the web and design industry in the future and what do you think may change about it?
I think we’re heading to a 100% digital world, as far as certain interactions go. Good or bad, we’re becoming more and more dependent on the web as a means of managing our lives.
Q. Is this something you see yourself doing for a long term career?
Yes, I do. I would also love to teach when the time is right.
Q. Is there any advice you’d like to leave inspired artists and designers with?
Set standards for yourself and stick to them, but be flexible enough to adapt. Perseverance, methodology and personality are key. But more important, you need to have fun and sometimes dare to do things that you never would have imagined that you could have done.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share that was not covered above?
In regards to the projects I’m most proud of, I must add my two beloved daughters and my wife Alexandra – she’s is by far the greatest project manager ever!
I also would like to give a big shout out to the people that I have had the good fortune of meeting so far in my career: Mike, Gus, Chinmoy, Kaiser, Sergio, John, Paul, Victor, Kuni, Pabz, Juancito and the one and only Audel a.k.a Pixel Killa.
PageCrush would like to say:
Julien, you have a natural gift for this industry. Continue going strong and we all hope to see many of your projects go big. Designers and artists from all over should take note on great direction and passion and be inspired. It was a great pleasure to talk with you. PageCrush thanks you for your time and dedication.
For more of Julien’s work and designs, please visit: www.tauban.com