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Q&A Leslie David

On 1 June 2024, the Now24 conference will take place in Paris. On that day, more than a dozen graphic design lecturers, art directors and type designers are expected. Join to attend talks by international speakers around graphic design, web design, motion design, publishing, visual identity, communication and type design. If not already done, register now to take advantage of the best rates.

It seemed interesting to us to make you discover the profiles of our guests. Discover Leslie David’s interview.

Biography Leslie David is a French designer, illustrator, and art director, founded her multidisciplinary creative studio in Paris in 2009. Specializing in visual thinking and design, her diverse portfolio includes projects in fashion, beauty, art, music, and culture. Beyond commercial ventures, Leslie’s personal practice explores unconventional territories, drawing inspiration from nature and intimate realms, characterized by vibrant colors and soft textures. Her dedication to pushing creative boundaries has solidified her as a prominent figure in the visual arts landscape.

Interview

Describe your typical day?

Leslie David The Studio has grown and evolved over the last few years, and I’m often trying to find the best work process. We don’t have a specific set of rules and our days depend a lot on scheduled meetings, deadlines. We find our balance and rhythm between organisation and spontaneity. I do make sure to get to the office early though, to have the time to prepare for the day as a team.

Do you prefer a permanent/dedicated workspace, separate from home or at home?

Leslie David The transition between being a freelance graphic designer working from home and directing a studio of 6 people has been slow but steady. I’m at my 5th workspace. They evolve as I do, grow at the pace of the studio. But I like to have one or two days at home every week so I can focus on tasks that require peace and quiet, like this interview for example :)

Have your work habits changed notably as a result of the pandemic?

Leslie David Yes, kind of. Like many creatives I enjoyed a little quiet and extra time to focus on my personal projects. There wasn’t much going on, which is a rare opportunity to spend time on my craft. Amongst the calm, I felt a real boost of creative energy, and I look back at that time with a sweet nostalgia.
Today, we’re back on. The pace has picked back up but we try to learn lessons from that chapter. Lockdown taught me how important it is to practice on your own craft. So at the studio, we work 4 days a week, Fridays are off to encourage quality – and hopefully creative – time.

“My goal is to mix the immaterial and the tangible, to create images and worlds that don’t exist.”
Leslie David

What do you do to evade yourself from work?

Leslie David I try to work out several times a week but mainly I try to escape to nature as much as possible. Like many Parisians, cities are losing their appeal to me. I go on a yearly hike with a group of friends, it’s our free time together, a much needed break that we cherish.

Does AI change the way you work?

Leslie David I’ve been watching from afar for a few months now, but it’s only been a couple of weeks since I truly took the plunge. I’m fascinated by it as a tool, by its agility but I do fear it might lead to a image desacralisation. AI is changing my personal craft as an artist but it hasn’t yet really impacted our work at the studio. I’m excited to see where it might take us in the next few years.

If you could choose a subject/type of client/medium, which one would you like to explore next?

Leslie David I think it’s precisely this diversity that I need; to not be stuck in a medium, an industry or a specific craft. I love to explore new territories, to experiment and over all, to be surprised. Right now, I’m into AI, but I know that soon, I’ll long for a new tool, and that’s the most exciting part. My favourite tool probably hasn’t even been created yet. But even if digital creation draws me in, I always somehow seem to go back to craft. And my goal is to mix it all together, the immaterial and the tangible, to create images and worlds that don’t exist.

Can you explain this tendency to explore organic and vegetal forms?

Leslie David I am indeed really inspired by Nature’s forms, and always have been. It’s mind-blowing how every motif, shape exist in nature not just as a perfect entity, but with asperities, irregularities. I’ve had my biggest work epiphanies when fully immersed in Nature. From landscapes to microscopes, flowers to sea creatures, I’ve encountered numerous aesthetic chocs in nature. It’s not so much a conscious effort, more like an endless source of inspiration, somewhere between a mirage and serenity.

When you started, who were the teachers, mentors or professionals who had the most impact on you?

Leslie David When I was a student I did many internships and always with women running their own studios. They were very under represented at the time (and still are now actually). This choice wasn’t necessarily conscious but I think I wanted to understand how you can manage to run a business and have a family as a woman. I had the chance to work for Helena Ichbia, Sylvia Tournerie and Deanne Check in New-York, they all had a big impact on my journey and I learned so many tips from them, I am truly grateful for these experiences. We are still in contact and they are doing great work still, it’s a huge inspiration to me.

“I’ve had my biggest work epiphanies when fully immersed in Nature.”
– Leslie David

Do you have words of wisdom for young practitioners?

Leslie David I think that would be to find mentors and to do a maximum of internships, assist creative directors in Studio. Even if you dream of working for yourself and want to run your studio don’t overestimate your capacities and learn from others.

What other speaker wouldn’t you want to miss at Now24?

Leslie David I’m so glad to meet and talk with Violaine and Jeremy who I’ve been following closely for a while now. But every talk and speaker excite me, I know I’m gonna learn a lot, I can’t wait!

Thank you very much, Leslie!

– Interview by Jean-Baptiste Pernette

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April 5, 2024
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