Julie Delanoy

Julie Delanoy — Product Hunt

Paris-based product designer/maker focused on building usable and lovable products for people. Addicted to Diet Coke and sarcasm.

What led you into design?

The thing is, I wanted to be an architect on the Moon. It was pretty ambitious, but that's what I wanted to do. Design buildings for our life on the Moon. I'm glad I changed my plan though, or I'd have been very disappointed now.

I built my first website back in 1999 because my Counter Strike team needed one. I was into drawing, and I had been in charge of creating skins and sprays before starting doing websites. Soon, other teams asked me to create their websites, I assume this is what started my career.

What does a typical day look like?

Every day is a bit different. I work remotely, and several times a week, I work from 2 pm to late at night. I usually go to the gym or work on admin stuff, read my emails before diving into actual design work.
Sometimes, I'll work "traditional" hours and go out in the evening, attempting to have a social life.

I try not to work as much as I used to. I am more productive when I am not looking at a screen 20 hours a day. My problem is, I'm pretty addicted to screens.

What’s your setup?

I'm currently on my couch with my MacBook Pro. There are two bottles of Diet Coke sitting next to me. My cat is sleeping with his head near my right hand. This is how I work most of the time. I also have an office in a co-working space in Paris. I go there when I need to focus or rush a project.

Where do you go to get inspired?

Totally random stuff often inspire me. I'll be looking at someone doing something on the street or at a train station and will take notes. People behavior is my main inspiration for my work.

When I am working and look for references or ideas, most of the time, I'll take a look at Product Hunt, Twitter, or Land-book. When I need to look at beautiful things: Dribbble, Siteinspire, and itsnicethat. I also visit Pttrns.com and Useronboard quite often.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

There are objects that I think are beautiful but great design isn't something we often encounter. The last memorable thing I saw wasn't nice to look at — actually terrible, and I wouldn't have this in my home — but I find this very interesting. Logitech Powerplay wireless charging system is good design to me. It solves a problem and makes it very easy to charge your mouse while using it.

Also, the Nintendo Switch, this is great design. The whole experience is simple, remarkably logical. This is the best product I bought this year.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

I'm proud when a product I helped build is doing well and when people use it. I'm also proud when my work has a positive impact on my own life and when it teaches me something new.

Side projects helped with this. I'm happy about the now defunct Kimd. A camera app created for respectful concertgoers. It taught me how to pitch in public, how to manage a team. That was a very nice and quite scary experience.

I'm also proud of my work on Sochat. It's a product I genuinely liked to work on because the team was passionate about what they were building. The founder was also smart and knew what he wanted.

What design challenges do you face at your company?

I joined Product Hunt a couple of months ago. Even though I worked with the team before, it was under other circumstances. My main challenge is, I believe, to make it easier to iterate. We always try to improve our product, we're always rethinking the website for our community, and this has design implications. To help with this, I started working on a design system.

My other challenge is that I work remotely. I'm not too worried about this because I've been working remotely for 2 years now but it can be frustrating sometimes.

What music do you listen to whilst designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

You cannot do it alone. You may be skilled, but you'll always benefit from the support of others. Relationships, how you interact with people, are what makes a great designer. You should invest in this as much as in your technical skills.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

My Twitter account is where I “spend” most of my online time.

Other than this, I'd like to promote Tech Ladies, that's an incredible community. If you're a lady in tech, join the Facebook group.

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