Infographics by Rachel Herbert Lafontaine

Infographics by Rachel Herbert Lafontaine: the key to success

Rachel Herbert Lafontaine is the M2i graphic design teacher for the students in Communication and in Travel Management. As well as being a part-time teacher at Paris-Nanterre, she works as a graphic designer in the communication department of Rouen University (Normandy, France). We were keen on knowing more about this passionate teacher who taught us the ropes of the two major graphic design software, Photoshop and InDesign.

M2I students: What is your academic background?
RHF: I obtained a degree in cultural sociology, majoring in the sociology of reading. I then pursued a Master’s in graphic design at the Ecole Estienne. And throughout my studies I kept practicing Fine Art and Drawing.

Why did you choose to work in graphic design?
Because it seemed quite enjoyable to me to be able to practice my favorite activity all day long throughout all my life!

In the end, do you think you have chosen the right field?
I have absolutely no doubt about it.

Does one have to be passionate to become a graphic designer?
Yes, it is necessary because these are jobs that constantly evolve and require a rigorous watch on what is happening. Keeping one’s knowledge  up-to-date requires a lot of energy. Only passion can give meaning and provide such energy.

Do you have an additional workload once at home?
I do not really consider monitoring and research as being work so I would say that I do not have an extra workload outside the office.

What advice would you give to students wishing to follow in your path?
I would advise them to always keep looking for how to answer requests, how to get a message across in the best way. And my second piece of advice would be to know how to distinguish an artistic job, which is a job of pure expression, from a creative job, which is a job in the communication field where our creative skills serve our client’s needs.

What are the positive and negative aspects of your missions?
Each new project is an opportunity to experiment, to discover new ways, new ways of giving answers. I never get bored. Moreover, technological advances force me to constantly renew myself. I always have to face new challenges. It is exciting. The consequence is that it is not very relaxing. Do not imagine a quiet job behind your computer. We spend our time shaking up our braincells, even during the early winter mornings …and without coffee.

Do you see yourself in the same position in 15 years?
In the same position, from a strictly administrative point of view, no doubt. However, in 15 years, technology and computer languages, software and printing techniques will probably have changed dramatically. Therefore, in terms of content, I think that my position will have changed a lot.

Do you think that M2i students are potential graphic designers?
Thanks to the communication speciality of the M2i program, there is no doubt about it. I think they even have the profile to become artistic directors. They have a résumé and an overview that allows them to embrace the entire communication process.

Why did you choose to teach in the M2i Master?
Because it seems interesting for me to associate marketing and visual communication. We are overwhelmed with visual communication today and a company or institution can no longer think without this type of communication. Especially internationally, it is important to be aware that a receiver is marked with its culture and receives a visual message in different ways depending on the country in which it operates.

Do you think that the M2i course can be a springboard towards the profession of graphic designer?
With a few more hours on software, this is possible. There are very similar concerns. The only gaps may be technical shortcomings but as I said earlier, the state of mind and openness that characterizes this master is clearly that of a communications professional.

Rachel Hébert Lafontaine’s class really is one of the most endearing and enjoyable courses of the M2i because we not only learnt theory and technical skills  but we also got to create posters which allowed us students to apply the teachings of Mrs. Hébert Lafontaine and therefore improve our skills. Having Photoshop and InDesign skills is much sought after by future employers. Indeed, many M2i students get internships thanks to  graphic design as well as all the other classes that we have.