Interview with Pierre Duprat - Director of Communication at Vinci
Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
My name is Pierre Duprat, I'm Vinci's director of communications. I have an extremely classical career in the communication business since I worked in an agency for about ten years before being debauched by one of my clients. I became deputy director of a company that was not yet called Vinci, which was one of the historical components. I became in November 2007 the director of communication group with within my scope all the functions of communication: internal, external, social communication, financial communication, all the components that structure the communication for a listed group.
For you today, what is a graphic designer?
The same as yesterday! It is someone who participates in this work of communication which is to make the true visible. Communication is anything but a profession of lying, a job where you make arrangements with the truth, a profession of cosmetics. Basically, the job of communication is to be empathic enough to understand how these stakeholders worked yesterday in the advertising of communication targets. The graphic designer is the one who helps the truth come out of the well and makes things readable, visible, understandable by the stakeholders that companies want to address. That's how I saw them yesterday, that's how I see them today. In one of my first jobs, my boss was proud to tell us that he had in all and for all a Typographer's CAP and that he focused on typography as a structuring element of any graphic designer's work. It's true that when I started working it was basic and still today I think it's something very important.
What is the place of the visual at Vinci?
Was lucky because at Vinci is a profession that is extremely practical and easy to represent. It is an extremely photogenic business and it is very easy to represent. So the visual is a very important part for us. We have very little written tradition at Vinci, which is in the vicinity and through visual representation. It may disappoint some designers because we are quite proud of what we do, we find it quite photogenic and we find that it does not need to be much changed. We often require designers to let the images speak for themselves.
What are the qualities and skills you are looking for in the people you work with?
Honesty. I do not believe in the idea that we - and that includes our partners - are there to disguise reality in any way. Maybe that too will disappoint a number of creative people who would like me to say the word of creativity, of ability to conceptualize, but I think there are a lot of graphic designers who are very creative. Finally, it is not on pure creativity that the difference is made, but on the ability to use this creativity to be the simplest, the frankest is the truest possible.
What advice would you give to students who want to move towards visual communication?
It's very difficult. There are a lot of people. I think I would advise them two things. First to say that we need to work hard. To make a difference and to get to be able to express his talent while in the service of something by seeking the truth as I said earlier, this is not a gift, it's work . The second is to be true to themselves that what they believe and not to heed the advice of people like me.
What can hold you today on the profile of a young graduate?
The triggering factor is motivation. And motivation is not an empty concept of the 80 years. This is basically the word, on a professional semantic register, that we would use for "enthusiasm". In the 80 years ELF invented one of the most beautiful signatures in the history of advertising: "passion is always right". Passion and reason is a kind of oxymoron, but when it comes to the professional register, passion is just a way to express enthusiasm. And if I feel that in someone's home, it's more important than the reason, whether the person fits the job. I recruit the dose of passion. There must be some kind of love at first sight, otherwise it does not work.
How do you see the evolution of the communication professions?
We can talk about the emergence of social media, the 2.0 world. It's a software vision. In a hardware vision, we can talk about smartphones, tablets, etc. In the end, we have more and more people involved in communication. It must be admitted that the communication function is in the process of de-expertise. There will be three types of communicators tomorrow: non-experts, those who are almost communicating today and who will supervise these people, and finally communicators who will be over-expert, who will give the outline to follow.
Do you have a book to advise students?
I readily recommend them a book that risks alienating them, the latest book by an economist named Daniel Cohen. This book, Homo economicusIs very interesting because it raises questions about the fact that finally, in countries with strong economic growth, welfare declines. Basically, he wonders if the purpose is to be more and more wealthy or more happy and if it goes together. I think it gives a very interesting opening to what is played in the world today.