Laura Normand on the joy of freelancing, manual work and the design process

During the week, we spoke to Laura Normand who is a 28 year old French freelance graphic designer and art director. Before becoming a full-time freelance designer, Laura worked at a range of different studios and design agencies where she developed her professional process. Alongside her design practice, Laura has set up a screenprint workshop called Atelier Voila. She is particularly inspired by vintage works as well as the Space Age which inspires the clean, futurist and cursive shapes that can be seen throughout her work.                      


Tell us about your journey to becoming a freelance graphic designer and art director

In the beginning, I started freelancing quite naturally. It wasn't intentional. During my studies, people started to contact me on Behance. That's how I found my first clients. When I graduated, I decided to start freelancing full-time. But it was too early for me. I was lacking experience!

So for about 4 years, in parallel to freelancing, I started working at different freelancers' studios & agencies, to learn & see the professionals process. These experiences have brought me a lot of knowledge, contacts, and human lessons! It also revealed me what I really love and want to do. Now, I'm a full time freelancer and I know what mistakes not to make :)

What do you love most about being a freelancer?

Like all freelancers, I would say freedom! Your quality of life, your schedule & your salary is entirely up to you. It's so satisfying to work in your own way. What's more, there is more proximity with clients. You create a special bond with them and this makes the work much more motivating. This way of working seems healthier and more humane to me.

What inspired you to set up Atelier Voila?

I set up this screenprint workshop with my boyfriend because we are both passionate about art and a bit nostalgic I think. We miss these slow ways of creating and printing. In addition to our jobs as graphic designers, we spend a lot of time behind our screens. It feels good to get back to manual work. Moreover, old print techniques like screen print push you to think of the design differently, it's very interesting!

What era do you draw most inspiration from? Your body of work feels very 60s/70s!

It's true that for a while the 60s/70s have been inspiring me. I love vintage in general, our apartment is furnished almost exclusively with vintage furniture! It's amazing - all the unique and good quality cheap items you can find! Just the opposite of what we produce today. What I like best is the Space Age. I love these clean, futurist and cursive shapes and I think it naturally comes out in my graphic style. :)

Tell us more about the design process of your print

My process always starts with instinctive sketches. I reproduce them on illustrator to perfectly redraw the curves. Then I use photoshop as a painting tool to create these gradients and texture. I use the computer as an extension of my manual work. To go beyond the limits that my hand sets for me.