Credit: Florian Machot-Boscheron
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Valentin Gall, graphic designer and multi-talented artist

14 February 2023 Portraits
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Valentin Gall graduated from GOBELINS Paris' Licence professionnelle Création et Développement Numérique en Ligne in 2008, and returned to the school in 2013 as part of the Prolab incubator to develop the "Il était des fois" application. Today, he works as a graphic designer, illustrator and art director. Fascinated by the world of children's literature and a true jack-of-all-trades, he experiments on a daily basis with commissions and personal projects (screen printing, stickers, stencils, chocolate illustration, applications, collages, children's imagiers, photography, board games, paper cut-outs, pictograms, etc.).




Can you retrace your steps since graduating?

I have a rich background in Applied Arts, which has enabled me to travel a lot. Originally from Metz, I started with a MANAA in Nancy, followed by a BTS in Visual Communication (graphic design, publishing and advertising) in Lyon. Immediately afterwards, I entered the GOBELINS Paris bachelor's program, to round out my knowledge with a digital design component. I then entered the Arts Déco de Strasbourg (now called the Haute Ecole des Arts du Rhin) to specialize in visual didactics and work on projects for young people.


I returned to GOBELINS in 2013, to finalize my graduation project "Il était des fois" in the Prolab incubator. It was there that I met Arnaud Lacaze and Marie-France Zumofen, from the Research and Innovation department, who put me in touch with Tralalère, a company developing digital educational projects for young audiences.


I then joined the school's Research and Innovation department to work together on new concepts related to digital publishing. Until 2017.




Visuel réalisé par Valentin Gall pour l'Université de Strasbourg





Visuel réalisé par Valentin Gall pour l'Université de Strasbourg





From 2017 to 2019, I worked for theUniversity of Strasbourg, as artistic director, on the rollout of their new visual language (a redesigned communication system for the entire university) alongside Ruedi Baur.

2019 marked a turning point in my career, with the birth of my daughter, which turned my organization and my whole way of working upside down (I'm now much more efficient with my time!). Today, I'm back on freelance assignments, both for big companies (ARTE, Puma, Orange...) and for individuals or associations. It's a balance that I find creatively very interesting.


Finally, in parallel, I continue to keep the"Il était des fois" application alive. I'm regularly invited to cultural venues (Gaité Lyrique, Le Vaisseau, Médiathèque A.Malraux...) to run workshops on digital books.




Can you tell us more about "Il était des fois", the project you finalized at the Prolab incubator at GOBELINS Paris in 2013?

It was originally my graduation project at Arts Déco, and I'd chosen to work on a children's digital book. It was the early days of digital books, the iPad had just come out, and I was a little disappointed by most of the applications, which boiled down to fake page-turning and very basic interactions. I wanted to explore the possibilities offered by these new technologies and take advantage of them to create the book I would have loved to have as a child.


"Il était des fois" offers tools that enable readers to make a story their own. The distribution of roles, the choice of central character, the different points of view, the confrontation of narratives, all become interchangeable modules. "Il était des fois " gives children the opportunity to be the authors of their own stories, and provides a helping hand for parents in need of inspiration. The iPad is no longer just a screen; it's back to being an object, like a book, that's fun to handle.


When I presented my diploma at Art Déco, the application was already practically functional. The project incubator enabled me to finalize it, but above all, to support me throughout its launch.


The app will celebrate its 10th anniversary this spring. That's quite a milestone for an independent app! I'm thinking of making it free for the occasion. I tried it out during the 1st confinement and downloads exploded (the French Embassy in the United States even recommended the app!).


This project is very important to me, asit links all the stages of my career: publishing during my BTS, digital at GOBELINS and the children's world at Art Déco.




Il était des fois, Valentin Gall





Il était des fois, Valentin Gall


Where do you find inspiration?

I'm very inspired by my daughter, and admire children's ability to draw instinctively, without question. I keep all her drawings naturally, and I also steal her tools (Crayola, cubes, stickers...)! I try to create things with her. Most recently, we worked together on a commission for ARTE !


I don't have any particular technique for maintaining my creativity, apart from daily practice and changing mediums frequently. I experiment a lot.


I'm also used to adding a constraint when working on a commission, like using a new technique for example. For me, it's easier to be creative by imposing a constraint, so I'm not starting from a blank page.




Recherches pour une commande Arte





Visuel réalisé par Valentin Gall


How do you see the future of your career? What are your future projects?

I'd probably like to work more on children's projects (albums, board games, toys...). Now that I'm immersed in it on a daily basis, I realize that it's what delights me the most.

But why not come back to GOBELINS as a professional, to help develop end-of-year projects for example, I have some very fond memories of my time at the school.


As for my future projects, I'm currently working on the design and communication of a virtual guide application in Strasbourg. At the same time, I'm designing the visual identity of an EHPAD, communication materials for a law firm and (of course) imagiers for my daughter.


I regularly cut out paper sneakers and I'm trying to launch a store selling numbered prints based on my pictogram work. I'm always busy, and my projects are very varied!




Imagier sur l'école, Valentin Gall





Imagier sur le basket, Valentin Gall


Can you tell us a good memory of GOBELINS?

Open doors ! I've done them as a prospect, a student and then as an alumnus. And every time, it's a great time filled with beautiful images. I recommend them to everyone.


In fact, I've carefully saved my JPO t-shirts! Getting this t-shirt was like making our time at GOBELINS official.




Photo de Valentin Gall prise par  Florian Machot-Boschero

Florian Machot-Boschero

What advice would you give to a recent graduate interested in becoming a graphic designer?

I have several:


Start a business in parallel with your studies, which is what enabled me to develop my network and launch my business as soon as I graduated.

➜ Don't think of school projects only as "homework" and try to see what use they can have after school (in a portfolio, as a first professional project...).

Go and see what we're doing in other fields, it's always very enriching and it's a shame not to take enough advantage of all the talent that surrounds us at Gobelins.


And finally, having fun, it's important to have fun in what you do (at school and outside), results will go hand in hand, if you have fun everything is easier.




basket en papier réalisée par Valentin Gall





Pictogrammes réalisés par Valentin Gall








Interview by Sophie Jean

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