Design Ecosystem in Paris

{ 🇫🇷 } – City Of Inspiration

After visiting the home of Phase, our Design Ecosystems series heads back to Europe. This time we are taking a closer look at Paris, one of the design community’s most engaged cities.

To create this article, we reached out to members of our Paris Designers list on Twitter (definitely worth a follow!), and the number of replies we got was incredible.

Let’s see what it’s like to be a designer in Paris.

Life as a Designer in Paris

Almost everyone we asked about working as a designer in the capital of France mentioned the same things: inspiration and events. The city is pulsing with energy, always pushing you to explore new things.

For a long time, I didn’t want to live in Paris because it’s a huge city, with a stressful lifestyle. I’ve been here for three years now, and it’s a great opportunity for designers: this city is a source of inspiration! There are so many cultural, artistic, tech events to attend. So many people to meet, and a lot of companies with awesome projects to contribute to.

Noemie Catel, Product Designer @ Heetch

The other thing that really drives the inspiration is the city itself, and its rich history.

Being a designer in Paris is a huge opportunity. First of all, because of the community here, there are many events, talks or conferences about this subject. Secondly, Paris is an everyday surprising city, with so many different people, different talents, different profiles. Walking in the street and discover something new is a huge opportunity for us.

And, last but not least, because Paris is an old city, things were thought with “old” eyes, with truth from another time. So it’s also an opportunity to think about what is not going well and try to solve it. (about infrastructures, public services, architectures and so on.)

Josselin Le Bail, Co-founder & Product Designer @ Kushim

In general, you can see from the outside, that the local design community in Paris is growing fast, which opens up a lot of new possibilities for people looking for a job in design.

I feel like it has become more and more interesting in the last couple of years with more meetups, more conversation around design. UX (which is the field I graduated in master) definitely became more visible. Two years ago it was still mysterious to some or considered a bonus. I just started a new job as a product designer and my company didn’t really have a UX professional until something like two-three years ago. So it’s quite an interesting time.

Emilie Krasi, Product Designer @ Prisma Media
Eiffle Tower during the night
Eiffle Tower during the night

The Design Community of Paris

Similarly to Berlin, the design community in Paris is pretty diverse, in both its design positions and in its cultural makeup.

The design community is huge with many different designers profiles (UX, UI, product, artists…) or nationalities. It is very enriching! You can learn a lot from each other. It’s a city as small as it is big: on the one hand, you can meet a lot of people, and on the other, you easily run into someone you already met in a meetup or in your career path for example. It’s a great environment!

Alexia Buclet, Design Operations Director @ Minsight

There are a lot of things happening in the city that not only inspire designers, but also lets them work on new things using the ecosystem’s resources.

Paris design community is definitely growing with design taking more importance in companies. There are more job opportunities than before if you are not only visual design oriented (it can still be complicated to find a permanent job for UI and AD). As I was saying there are more meetups, more interesting digital product being made here, more hackathons.

There is also Station F, a big incubator run by Xavier Niel that opened in the last couple of years where a lot is happening. There are also a lot of fablabs, which are free or cheap and where you can go and 3D print or work on some physical/Digital stuff. There are also a lot of Slack communities like French Designer Club or a Product design Slack where people share, help each other.

Emilie Krasi, Product Designer @ Prisma Media

And there are, of course, tons of meetups happening all over the city! Alexia came up with a great list:

As I’m focused on UX, I’ll share UX focused associations:

FLUPA is the reference for French-speaking UX community. They organize meetups and the UX days in June: a huge event with several conferences and working groups for 2 days. A must-go event!

– UX Republic, a UX company, also organize meetups every month. They are called “Star d’UX” and subjects are very interesting.

Hexagon UX is an American association focusing on the UX women community but everybody is welcomed! They started their Parisian association like a year ago. Note that all meetups are in English.

Alexia Buclet, Design Operations Director @ Minsight

Thomas provided us with even more Paris design meetups:

Le Laptop is a coworking place created by Pauline Thomas (a very inspiring person by the way). She’s UX Designer/Sprint Master and organizes design sprints workshops, design thinking workshops and a lot of very good meetups. Algolia Paris hosts very good fully English meetups too. They also have an amazing rooftop which is always a good thing to know in summer.

I never went there, but I heard that La Product Conf’ is a very interesting conference. It’s mainly product management talks but these kind of topics are always interesting for designers.

Thomas Pitou, Product Designer @ MeilleursAgents
Sunset in Paris, Design Ecosystem
Sunset in Paris

Where to work from in Paris

If you’re looking for some nice places to work from in Paris, we’ve got you covered!

There are some nice coworking cafés all over the city now where you can pay a fee for the day or a couple of hours and drink and eat as much as you want on top of WiFi and a spot to work of course. I particularly like Anticafé. Or if you’re looking for a traditional French looking café, you can go to Cannibal café (Paris 11), where you can easily find a spot to charge your computer while working. They also have DJ set when the night comes. This can be handy after a hard work day!

Emilie Krasi, Product Designer @ Prisma Media

Although Thomas is usually working from his office, he recommended a very unique coworking space to us:

I never really worked elsewhere than in companies offices, but as a freelance designer, I met one of my clients at Morning Coworking near Pigalle. It’s an old school transformed into a coworking space so you can sit in ancient classrooms. It must be a very inspiring place to work.

Thomas Pitou, Product Designer @ MeilleursAgents

This is Paris and its design ecosystem! Before we let you go, I wanted to quickly mention a French podcast on a digital design called The French Touch, that both Emilie and Thomas introduced us to.

If you’re a designer based in Paris, we welcome you to share your experience with us on Twitter. You can also check out the Phase Community, where you’ll find plenty of designers based in the city.

If you want to contribute to next the issue of Phase Magazine, just drop us a line:

Nick Budden Avatar

Nick Budden / CEO @ Phase

Designer, and sometimes-writer. Canadian in Taiwan ✈ Berlin. Trying to help people enjoy being creative.