This week, we wanted to try something new… And for that, we didn’t want to put forward a well-known streaming personality. We wanted to highlight a man from the shadows, who works a lot for one of the biggest French streamers! Romain has been a graphic designer for a few years now and is now working full time for PAB Productions. His background, his vision of the business, his role in PAB Productions… An exchange to read without moderation!
Kyklos: Hello Romain! First question: could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background?
Romain: My name is Romain, I am 22 years old and I am a graphic designer for Domingo! I come from Lille, I grew up and studied in this city… And I am very attached to it!
I did a scientific baccalaureate / AbiBac! It is actually a Franco-German ferryboat with subjects to be passed in German. My mother is German so I have been bilingual since I am a child. I have always had facilities in middle school / high school. And I just graduated from high school anyway! I wasn’t the best, but I didn’t need to “force” too much to get good results.
Kyklos: What brought you to be a graphic designer?
Romain: My father is an architect and I am really passionate about it! I travelled a lot with him. And he passed on his passion for architecture to me.
After that, I went to an architecture school in Lille. But it wasn’t the best idea because my father was a teacher at that school… I was under constant pressure! Not that he was looking at everything I was doing, but I knew I didn’t have much room for error. It was stressing me out too much. I shortly detached myself from this path. I missed my first year, which I still remembered, but it didn’t last long. For my second first year, I was alone in an apartment in Lille. And that’s when it all started.
I used to play a lot of video games. I didn’t like doing nothing. So the games were actually a way to keep me busy! I used to play a lot at Dofus and that’s when I started graphic design.
Kyklos: And who were your first customers?
Romain: I did a lot of social network design for people who played Dofus. It was really a first approach! I learned drawing in architecture school but I lacked the mastery of tools. In Archi’, you do a lot of things by hand, while in computer graphics, you do everything with softwares. So I started Photoshop three years ago, something like that!
Kyklos: So after that you never went to graphic design school or anything?
Romain: I tried a graphic design school in Belgium! But I had to stop unfortunately because of an administrative problem… I won’t go into details but I stayed there for 3 months only.
Kyklos: That’s when I guess you wondered that you had to move forward even without having studied?
Romain: Exactly! So I found myself without a school and without a job. I was also back at my father’s house. That’s when I thought I should start working.
I used to give German lessons to children, I worked in a small restaurant… I did a lot of small jobs like that! And in parallel with these small jobs, I started to approach customers for precisely the graphic design part. That’s how I started working with Alexis “Chap” Barret! It was really my first step into business! But one customer is not enough to make a living! So I canvassed all over the place! On Twitch, on social networks… I was everywhere! I also went a lot to LAN, it’s always better to put a face on a person than just a nickname and a profile picture!
Kyklos: But the market for graphic designers must be a little rough! And you started quite late!
Romain: Yes, it’s true! But I managed to get my nails out of the game! Technically I’m not the best, but I have a human side that pleases! I am very attentive, I talk to people… And I am very professional. All these elements have allowed me to stand out and compensate for my shortcomings!
Kyklos: The human is clearly an element not to be neglected. And the proof is that it worked very well for you! And after Chap, who did you work with?
Romain: I worked quite quickly with Julien “Jbzz” Dupré! It didn’t last very long, but it was still interesting!
Then I worked with Sardoche! Which brought me a lot of visibility! I gradually started to raise my rates a little bit. He put me in the spotlight a lot. At that time, there was the Trackmania Cup organized by ZeratoR! A lot of big names participated in this event: Kenny, CarlJr… And so these people asked Sardoche who was his graphic designer. So I started working with CarlJr. It gave me a lot of visibility too, and Kenny came to me! We worked together afterwards! It was a small workforce at first, like YouTube miniatures. And finally, I redesigned his entire visual identity, his Twitch designs, images for his social networks… Everything related to his overall visual identity! That was mid-2018.
In parallel to all this, I also worked with a player named NokSs! He was a streamer on Overwatch and today he’s on Fortnite! He’s a great player. We worked together, but it wasn’t necessarily for visibility but more to gain experience.
Kyklos: But you really have accumulated customers! Wasn’t it too hard to handle all those orders?
Roman: Yes, I had a lot of them! But that’s what allowed me to live off it too! On the other hand, it requires a lot of sacrifice! I had up to 8 Youtuber customers at the same time.
And what you have to understand, especially on YouTube, when you have so many customers, you have videos coming out every day. So you never actually stop! But it was a necessary sacrifice to get to where I am today!
Kyklos: And what really made you go up and end up with Domingo?
Romain: Clearly the release of Fortnite. It was a big turning point for me! It seems that this game has changed more than one life… (Laughs). NokSs in the dawn of the game told me he wanted to bet everything on it! He said that the game had potential, and as it is good at all games, he wanted to try this experience. So we worked together again but in very serious ways! Not just an order! At the time he was one of the best players in the world! He broke several world records… And he gained a lot of visibility. He’s an incredibly generous guy and didn’t hesitate to push me forward!
Thanks to NokSs I was then able to work with Robi! But this was different! I wasn’t just doing Youtube miniatures, I was completely managing the chain. He was very focused on the stream part, so it unloaded him! I did that for a little less than a year. We’ve raised the channel to 300,000 subscribers! I even did a little editing in the end! Which took me a long time because I had to train on that too! But we had to stop working together… because a certain Theo Kleman had me in his sights as well. He followed my work from afar and liked what I was doing. He contacted me to join his team around Domingo.
Kyklos: Joining such a team must be a huge change for you who was all alone, right?
Romain: Yes, that’s for sure! I arrived as the third graphic designer. So it was a real team. And very professional especially!
I was there to make overlays, bring in new ideas. My first assignment was for his stream Football Manager during the World Cup. It was amazing to work on that! I was trusted and it allowed me to show what I was capable of. I still kept a few customers nearby at first!
Kyklos: So you weren’t full-time with them at first?
Romain: Not directly! But in November 2018, Theo and PA offered me the opportunity to work full-time! They were about to take offices in Paris to bring everyone together, and they wanted me to be part of the adventure! So I have been working full-time for Domingo since January 2019, in the offices in Paris! It’s really an incredible experience! We’re always trying to innovate and doing something other than gaming! And that’s really something you don’t necessarily see anywhere else! And if I say that, it’s because I didn’t choose the gaming world because I was passionate about video games! I entered this world because it allowed me to develop professionally.
Kyklos: Okay, that’s great! And how does a young person, who loves drawing, loves architecture, come to think that he wants to do graphic design? What has been the path?
Romain: So you have to know that I was drawing realistic pictures. And I wasn’t a beast in illustration. I wasn’t the best in pure creativity… I’m working on that right now! On the other hand, I was very rigorous, both in my organization or in my rendering… In my computer everything is really well classified and sorted! And as I explained before, that’s what made me successful. But to answer the question, in fact it was more a series of meetings, discussions, that made me try this experience!
Kyklos: And how did you learn about all the tools you use today? It couldn’t have been easy without any training.
Romain: I’m not someone who watches a lot of tutorials on YouTube. I learned a lot on my own, exploring the software. In addition with Photoshop, you always have several solutions to achieve the result you want!
But just a little fact, at first I streamed when I was making YouTube miniatures! And I had a few people following me! As a result, people came by and sometimes gave me some advice! It helped me to progress faster. But I love learning by applying. So I think it was really by doing my job that I learned to use these tools. My technique today is still to be worked on! These softwares have been around for so long that there are a lot of tools that I don’t know about yet.
Another point that must be emphasized in my learning and which is very important is the solidarity between the graphic designers in the field. We are not many but we have grouped conversations on Twitter or Discord on which we share little tips! And that’s great, because it creates a pleasant working dynamic. We don’t feel competitive.
Kyklos: Super interesting! So what are your current missions at Domingo’s?
Roman: So I started on pure executive! All the miniatures of 2 of our 3 YouTube channels, the ad visuals, the giveaway visuals… It was really very concrete with clear missions! But now I’ve taken a little height. We work with several graphic designers, and I actually manage all this. You should know that we have 3 YouTube channels! So there is content to create, and we have to make sure that everything goes well! I still do executive work, of course, but I also manage the others so that the shop runs smoothly!
Kyklos: And how do you handle this situation or move from the executor to the one who will give things to be executed? Doesn’t that disturb you too much?
Romain: I was immediately comfortable. Giving instructions doesn’t bother me! It’s part of the job. It’s about people in the end and complementarity within the team. I must also be able to listen to what I am told in order to guide the team members as well as possible. That’s also what’s great about this team, it’s that we focus more on your potential than your skills. So we’re always going to make sure you get as high as possible, challenging yourself. But it is always done with a good method and concrete elements!
Kyklos: And do you also bring ideas for the live shows?
Roman: Yes, totally! When we prepare shows, it’s really as a team! So we can give our opinion and it’s even essential! Everyone has their own expertise, their own vision of things! And that’s what makes our shows so successful! For example, when we prepared the live show for the World Cup on Football Manager, we prepared a lot of little scenes where we played with the green background and which created really original and unique content. They try to free me up some time to think about this kind of thing and bring in new ideas!
Kyklos: It’s really great, because it allows you to see a lot of different things. And it’s very professionalizing!
Roman: Yes, that’s exactly right. That’s why I say that being part of the PAB Prod’ has really made me grow. And it’s probably the most beautiful thing that could happen to me at my age!
Kyklos: To conclude, do you have a little anecdote to tell us?
Roman: Yes, I have a nice one! I had some laptop problems for a while and I didn’t necessarily have the means to buy a new one… So I worked in my father’s workshop in the evening, and at night! I worked nights for 3 years… So I had to get back into the rhythm when I joined PA and Theo! Working at night was something and it was not easy to change the pace and return to a normal lifestyle… But I was so motivated that I managed it quite easily!
Kyklos: Thank you Romain, you taught us a lot about the graphic design profession in the gaming field. You are one of the men in the shadows who helps some people succeed!
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