A new kind of team

Interview: Meet Martin, a Madeo designer

Let’s start with you when you were just a kid. How were you like?

I grew up in Saint Etienne, France. I remember I used to draw Tintin a lot as a kid. When I was around 7, my parents signed me and my friend to take art lessons with this retired war veteran that was an illustrator. He taught us techniques like watercolors and always painted landscapes, which as a child, I thought were so boring. I just wanted to draw like Dragonball Z, because that was super cool to me at the time, well still today!

Is that what got you into art and design school?

Well maybe, but I think it might have been more about my time working at a gallery a few years later. I did pretty much nothing as a teenager. I got into learning street art because I thought that was what you did “to be cool”. I didn’t do a lot with spray paint, but I tried a lot of stenciling, which was fun. And then, there was this gallery by my house, a very high-end art gallery that always caught my attention. One night I was drinking with a friend and noticed that they had a sign for a job. I said what the hell and I just went in to ask about the job. The guy working there was cool, so I ended up working in that gallery for 3 or 4 years throughout high school.

How was working at the art gallery?

I had no idea what I was doing. I was super shy and didn’t talk to the gallery visitors. I was also a teenager, so I was partying late on Friday nights and then show up dead the next day to the gallery. But, it was fun being there and the gallery owners really became family friends. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I unconsciously learned a lot about art from working there. I discovered a lot of movements in contemporary art that way.

Then, I decided to apply to Les Beaux Art, but the art school didn’t accept me at first because I studied economics in school. That’s when I tried to rebel and basically fake being an artist. But, eventually I got to really focus on my art and started to apply to art school again, which worked and that’s how I got into art school.

Was it art school that got you into web design?

In school, I did a lot of graphic design, and I loved it. I would design stuff for t-shirts, skateboards, and print work. At first, I was really into print. I really liked picking papers, thinking about textures, and all the details that go into print. Later, I got to be exposed to web design and eventually built my first website in 2006.

What are some of the things you have designed that still mean something to you now?

There are at least a couple of older projects, from when I used to work for Christian Louboutin that I really like. I worked with a cool illustrator where we designed this concept with birds in patterns, which I then turned into something very interactive. We mixed products, patterns, and made users mix and match by sliding left and right. It was fun and was one of my first real collaborations with developers as well.



Another project that was really cool was when we introduced Beauty at Christian Louboutin. It was a collaboration with a 3D designer to produce these day and night environments. It was also a complicated collaboration between design and web development.

Figuring out how to work together between 3D experts, more developers, and doing something new like that was very interesting.



What is a very recent project that you feel was interesting to work on?

50/50 Climate Project stands out to me, because I really pushed the interactions and transitions in the website. I also worked on the branding of the organization with the rest of the team, so we had a free hand to create everything from scratch to define everything for the brand and that made a big difference for the website. I’m also doing more now, since we have taken team roles within the organization after we worked on the first project.



What team roles do you mostly collaborate with at Madeo?

We are a team of about 15 people and I work a lot with almost everyone, but I especially spend a lot of time with the content strategist on the team; we wireframe together and decide on how the content elements of a website or an app are going to be set. I talk to Catalina – another designer on the team – when I need another designer’s perspective. If I feel locked, I get advice from our creative director on the direction and on how a concept fits into the rest of the big picture.

Once web development starts, I end up spending a lot of time with different developers on the team. Our head of engineering helps me a lot with overall concepts and the ability to make things happen. I then spend more time with back and forth with the front-end developer working on the project, and sometimes there is more than one front-end Developer, so I work on little details with each one, depending on how simple or complicated the website or app that we’re creating together.

Do you prefer working within a team or as a solo designer?

I like working in a team, because I trust the people I work with. The difference to me is not about work, but more about the mood – it’s a way of life. I Just need to be around people I trust, to choose “real people” and not fake people; that’s what I look out for when I meet a new team, whether they are pretending or they are genuine. It matters a lot to me to have that support and overall experience.

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