By the time, designers of various specializations have reached the point of really good working conditions and tools for creative work, it has become more and more common to look back. It is all happening in search of certainty and trying to get away at least for a short time from the overwhelming digital media, eye-tiring monitors and Photoshop layers with sparkling imagery. Not knowing what origami is had already become a sign of improper interest. That’s right – paper. One can rebel against it, but cannot avoid it – one will meet a secretary in a bank, carrying a pile of invoices, someone will push a newspaper or a meaningless brochure into one’s hands. Paper has a great potential. It‘s possible to cut one‘s fingers with it, to fold a tetrahedron or even a human head from it, to convey various ideas by paper compositions without being called a child. Clearly, that is what Julien Vallée understood – this designer and art director from Montréal, Canada is famous for masterly paper compositions and motion graphics.
Julien Vallée. “Tangible” book cover
Though paper is not the only material for his activities. Julien uses various domestic tools, texture and its combinations, which go through a creative process and result in posters, videos or book covers. This can be called sculpture, just in a form less likely to stay and intended for different purposes. Nevertheless, computer is used in the end, is there a way to do without it? To describe the essence of Julien‘s works more accurately, the definition of one of his earlier pieces is of use: a connection between computing and handiwork processes in design. Since the beginning, he sought for the result to be visually aesthetical, looking almost like completed with computer vectors, but still having something real inside, made of concrete material, that can be sensed. These stylistic can be easily recognized in the majority of his works – shapes neatly cut out, loose, but not too distorted handwriting, matching compositions and barely felt computer effects for the completion. Usually Julien is helped by a friend photographer Simon Duhamel, who turns the paper sculptures into works with more durability.
I Just think that being a graphic designer in the 21st century involves so much more than only working behind a computer …and that’s great!“ — Julien Vallée.
Julien’s career started during graphic design studies at Université du Québec à Montréal in Canada, when he got a scholarship and went to practice in Paris. There he worked with well-known designers such as Stefan Sagmeister and successfully gained more experience. Eventually this young designer won several awards, such as ADC Young Guns 6 exhibition award from New York or Creative Review Award 2010. The number of awards and publications in various magazines and books grew quickly, the consequences were the international recognition and important customers — from MTV to The New York Times. Also, he intensively exhibited his paper installations/sculptures. I won‘t deny that Julien is worth it. Everything what he does stands out as professional, with clear ideas. Although a dose of youthful enthusiasm might be detected too, which does not seem to coincide with too serious clients, a wish to appear young and fashionable is present even in men in costumes, whose faces are shaded by seriousness.
Next to photographed paper compositions, Julien Vallée‘s motion graphics require particular attention. When several months ago I discovered a video, presenting sponsors of the festival “OFFF“, created by this talented guy, I couldn‘t take my eyes off it, it made me want to click ‘repeat’ until I get totally bored. The transformations of things and unusual effects are charming with unexpectedness – a small ball causes a cupboard to collapse or a basketball, turning into a watermelon. A dose of good spirit with no obligations. When evaluating this work in the context of the others, it‘s clear that Julien attempts to remain loyal to an idea to create in new fields with new means, in this way stimulating his own improvement.
Another video project — DanseDance reveals how important, but often forgotten are everyday tools – with the help of keyboard one is able to control certain objects and see how they overflow or spin. What is left is to imagine these processes in reality.
Julien Vallée‘s works show design evolution. The kind of design that is now most strived for – diverse, professional, merging different medias together. It proves that probably the future belongs to motion graphics. In fact, there have even been attempts to put it in sport shoes, whose owner could choose the images to be shown – that is what the order from Nike was like. Although this shouldn‘t seem to surprise any longer. No matter how much digital life is invading our routines, it is important not to forget the basics – manual work and paper, the ones you remember from your childhood, when you first tried to fold a paper plane. Paper is inspiring!