Fabien Laborde

Creative Director
Les Échos

My Métier d’Excellence

I’m the Creative Director for Groupe Les Échos. My role is to oversee the visual creation teams across our media group, representing 55 people, including creative directors, graphic artists, teams in charge of iconographic research, etc. Our objective is to respect our graphic standards, guarantee the overall visual quality of our content and ensure the creative direction for the presentation of information in our different media. In short, I’m responsible for the way the daily information we publish looks.

My background

My background is a bit atypical in that I studied journalism at the IFP school in Paris and then joined Le Figaro for what was supposed to be a one-week internship. My internship was extended and then I was hired permanently and spent nine years with the paper. One day a new creative director joined the paper and I asked her, almost in jest, whether she might need an assistant. The next day I was asked whether I wanted to become her deputy. So I really learned different visual  creation skills through on-the-job training at Le Figaro, before moving to another newspaper, Les Échos. This is a rather unusual itinerary since  my colleagues most often studied design.

The most important things you need for this métier

Diplomacy is very important in my work. I sometimes propose innovative ideas and you have to get the decision-makers on board. That’s also why listening is essential, you have to listen to everyone’s needs to find a result that satisfies all those concerned. My background as a journalist is actually an advantage since it helps me put myself in the place of the people I’m working with to find the best solutions.

What I love most about my métier

There are two things. First, I really enjoy working with my teams, many of whom I recruited myself and who are experts in their respective fields. And I also really love innovating in terms of editorial content, inventing new approaches to writing, new formats, breaking with established codes. That’s my real inspiration and what motivates me every day – in addition to the people on my teams.

An anecdote?

There’s a project we worked on for several months, something I’m very excited about and quite proud of. For the French presidential elections we created an interactive online format where the presidential race was depicted in the form of a yacht race. Each candidate was represented by a boat that advanced faster or slower depending on the course. It wasn’t easy to make this project a reality because, well, it was bit out of the ordinary and different from the way this subject is usually covered. Happily, we had support from several political journalists who were very enthusiastic about the idea, as were the teams in charge of readership. That bolstered our confidence. Personally, I’m a big fan of this new format, which presents a presidential race from a fresh angle and engages with a younger public thanks to an innovative approach.