Alice Gavin Services™
Alice Gavin is a designer, creative director, author, and the founder of Alice Gavin Services. Based in France, Alice splits her time between Paris and Marseille. She provides creative direction and design services for a wide collection of clients including Nike and Novembre Magazine, while also working as an associate artist at the National Ballet of Marseille.
What tools do you use for your practice?
- MacBook Pro
- Post it
- White board
- Adobe creative suite
- Google docs
- Newly Signal (just transferred all discussions from WhatsApp)
- Weird apps
- NTS playing on loop at the studio.
What’s your daily schedule?
Although we all arrive at 9.30 no days are really the same.
The routine starts by talking as long as we can on mornings in order to produce or think in the afternoons — meetings are due in the morning as much as possible to stay focused.
But particular projects require particular plans — I live and work in both Paris and Marseille (South of France) since I am associate artist at Ballet national de Marseille and we all navigate there from time to time.
It does add a layer of organisation to keep workflow fluid.
What are the biggest differences in your approach for print vs digital?
- The possibility of being pretty much the same now.
- Print may feed digital and the other way around. This is something I have been practicing since I started working.
- Collaborative work spaces is the best. Figma is a recent excellent example.
How do you decide to open source a font?
Well, this is still a blurry situation! So far, we managed to turn fonts under open source licence whenever the relationship with the commissioner was good enough to discuss the possibility to go free after they paid for its design.
What were the factors that led you to start your own practice?
Collaborations with friends.
How do you see yourself in the future?
Hard to say with the pandemic, there’s a 50% chance for the same old in a mature version which I would like very much as well as a 50% chance of a complete change of life, who knows.
Having said that, and because I am more of an optimistic, my dream to achieve in the upcoming years is to develop a similar format of project I have just experimented at Ballet national de Marseille directed by collective (LA)HORDE.
It’s a long term project as associate artist : it’s an art residency with a practical case application within the institution and I loved this format. With the Ballet National de Marseille, my subject is to work with 22 dancers in order to mediatize dance through image direction.
This residency goes by 2 years with a special budget and no other constraints but to use my creative direction and graphic design background.
This kind of mission has awakened my desire to work on long term projects with institutions or brands, I think it’s important to create a relationship of trust, a real collaboration in order to be the most relevant in the creative and artistic direction.
For example, in Marseille, I had no commission, no hierarchic corrupted decision and it felt like building a new corpus of documentation and design completely from scratch.
In the end, I had been designing the new visual identity of the institution, I’ve created artistic documentation that is also archives, I have been curating hybrid artists editions such as branded ceramics with belgium based artist Eleonore Joulin and more is to come… The residency ends this year. I’ll be presenting the whole display over a public presentation on October 8th in Marseille, if you want to join ;) So far, it was the most interesting collaboration I ever had - and the most interesting outcomes.
I can't wait to accompany other projects in a similar way.
Where do you spend money and where do you make money?
I invest money to make the studio sustainable and to be able to approach the best conditions of work possible with all collaborators : buying time seems like the biggest deal — either to enjoy time spent at work as well as to enjoy our personal lives.
How many people do you consider a part of your practice?
Let’s try an average per year :
Commisionners (clients) = 30
Business partner = 1
Admin support (accountancy etc) = 2
Assistants = 3
Regular design/ coding/ motion collaborators = 5
Co workers from regular clients = 10
Occasional collaborators for specifics projects = 20
Technical supports (such as printers or other suppliers) = 5
Around 75 people ?
Hard to tell exactly !
But yes I’d say since I’ve worked under my own name, my close team got enlarged and my family of collaborators is quite wide.
What do you think is the most valuable asset for emerging designers?
Kindness (for perennity)
What is a prediction you have about your industry that others may not know or agree with?
It’s not forever.
What's your favourite restaurant to order from?
Colline d’Asie, a vietnamese cantine rue André Del Sartre, all meals are great but the best is the Curry Khmer — only make sure you can nap after that.