Noemie Le Coz: on chasing the work that will make you happy
When Noemie Le Coz left her Australian homeland of Melbourne, she had no idea it would be to fall in love with the energizing city of New York. She didn't know it would lead her to land a spot in some of its most prestigious design agencies, either. She decided to settle in the concrete jungle and said "yes" to the many opportunities that later came towards her like she will do with her soon-to-be husband.
Noemie has worked for Pentagram, Nike or more recently with the young shave and body brand Billie, for which she built the entire identity and latest campaign, and has found her balance in a cozy and beautiful apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Noemie is the kind of creative that puts love and intention into everything she's doing, that makes herself available at almost any hour of the day (or night) for her clients and that wouldn't quit the freedom of her freelance status for anything in the world. We were lucky to spend some time with her to get to know more about her inspirations and her Brooklynite lifestyle.
Tell us a bit about you!
I'm a designer and art director, originally from Melbourne, Australia. I moved to New York 5 years ago with my boyfriend, which was a good move — we've loved it here. My first job in NY was at Pentagram, after that I worked at RoAndCo Studio, and then went freelance a couple of years ago. Since then I've bounced around a lot at places like Apple, Google Creative Lab, Partners & Spade and Hugo & Marie, while also taking on independent projects. I'm also Creative Director of Billie, a self-care body brand that launched 6 months ago and that I did all the design work for.
Aesthetically, my work is usually quite playful yet restrained, I love mixing highs and lows, minimalism with character... I guess with a bit of a personality-driven approach.
What led you to become a graphic designer?
As a kid I was always into brands and products that had a distinct graphic boldness to them — United Colors of Benetton, Fiorucci, Hello Kitty, Swatch... and as I got older, magazines. My mum is a painter and owned a bookshop, so I was always around creative people growing up. Something clicked in my design classes mid-way through high school, and after realizing I could make all of this stuff for a job, I just went for it... I was lucky that I figured it out so early I think, because it meant that I could focus on building out a career that I loved from a really young age. I got into my top choice of design school and spent the next four years there before landing my first job in a boutique studio back in Melbourne.
Who are the people that inspired your creative journey?
My first creative director! She has an incredible sense of humour and created this amazing studio environment that was very much influenced by pop culture, world events and things outside of design. She taught me the importance of ideas over style, how to make even the driest content seem fun but also how to not take graphic design too seriously.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
A lot of very random things! Humour, colour, the 90s, 99 cent stores (the ones in Tokyo are my absolute fave), nature... travelling.. I recently got back from Mexico City and really loved just wandering the streets looking at all the amazing, super eclectic architecture, markets, food and people. It was my fourth time there but there are so many layers to the city that I always feel like I've only just scratched the surface. I also recently went to Japan and Iceland, which were both incredible — the architecture on Naoshima Island in Japan I found mind-blowing and the mountains and glacier lagoons in Iceland were super dreamy. Nature is so amazing!
How do you pull yourself out of really low moments?
I’m generally a very optimistic person, and kind of see the lowest moments as an important thing to go through in order to spring back and make the high moments better. I’m also a pretty practical person though so in tough moments I generally try to just work out a way to work through it with as much optimism and pro-active moves as possible!
Can you describe your creative rituals?
I’m most productive in the mornings, and starting work with a big breakfast is always what motivates me to get into the zone. I’m also constantly listening to music when I’m working, and if I really need to focus I’ll put on classical music. I like working with a window open too.
How do you incorporate self-care into your life?
I’m generally pretty lazy when it comes to self-care. I’ll do the odd face mask. I make sure to get lots of sleep. But I’m a bit of a tomboy when it comes to all of that stuff!
What are the things you feel most grateful for?
Obviously my friends and family would be the biggest thing, I've been really lucky to have had so many amazing people around me throughout my life — the people that ground me, make me laugh and put things into perspective are who keep me going. Also very grateful for my home — in NY but also having had Melbourne as a home, too. Both are incredible, creative cities.
How would you define your personal style?
I wear a lot of loose, oversized silhouettes, and look for simple clothes that have character, like mock necks, platform sandals, oversized collar or buttons. Definitely relaxed, kind of playful, always pretty minimal and unfussy. My wardrobe is made up of a mix of vintage and brands like Ilana Kohn or Creatures of Comfort. My favorite designer at the moment is Cecilie Bahnsen, I just bought one of her dresses for my wedding and I really love it.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
My nan always had some goodies: “you’ll never learn younger” and “if a job needs doing, do it”.
What is your personal motto?
"Whatever makes you happy."
Can you share with us some of your favourite inspirations?
> Graphic & Interior Design: Playful classics – Ettore Sottsass, Massimo Vignelli, Nathalie Du Pasquier etc. and I’m big into 70s interior and graphic design right now, like Georg Karl Pfahler, Verner Panton, Alver Aalto, Max Clendinning.
> Podcasts: NPR!