Someone once said that if you have money to go only to one design conference a year, then OFFF in Barcelona has to be your first choice. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about this event, and unfortunately, I haven’t been able to attend until this year. But it’s never too late.
OFFF 2015, 15 years young
This year was the 15th anniversary of the event, so the line-up of speakers was a special one. All of the crème de la crème of creative agencies were present at OFFF. And I have to say, it’s great to walk into a room and see that three chairs away from you, wearing a simple navy blue suit, sits the one and only Stefan Sagmeister. To then hear him talking a few hours later. In the next room, the chillout experience room, next to a massive screen full of colour and motion sits the creator himself, Joshua Davis. You can’t miss the guy, he’s full of colour as well. His tattoos do stand out quite a bit.
The OFFF festival took place at the Barcelona Design Museum (Museu del Disseny de Barcelona), a perfect location for such an event. It was sold out! I attended all three days and I have to say, it was one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to. It’s great to see so much creativity in one place. There were talks from creative and art directors of some of the best agencies in the world, most of them talking about the lessons they’ve learned and the experience they’ve gained in the industry. There was a great showcase of very creative portfolio work as well.
What I really liked and was also happy to hear most of the speakers highlighting were two main things: the constant need for experimentation and the need for true passion for the work we are doing.
As designers, in order to move on and create new and great work, we constantly need to experiment. Experimentation in personal projects is important too. The idea of creating personal projects and how those can lead to winning new work was a theme present in a lot of talks.
I am not going to take you through all the talks I attended because that will take too much screen space, but I have to highlight two of them, as I really found them very interesting.
Sci-fi movie enthusiasts know that there is a lot of technology behind all of those amazing images we see on the cinema screens. But have we ever thought how much effort and talent sits behind all the UI screen graphics we see in those movies? Territory Studio made an amazing walk through of some of their latest projects, including the new Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and the already very well known Prometheus. They highlighted the whole creative process, starting from the research and discovery phase all the way to the production and post-production. Great insights.
The other talk that I found very inspiring was from Anton and Irene. The creative duo talked about the journey of building their shiny fresh new agency. A very interesting part of the talk was related to some practices of getting organised feedback. The idea was that we as designers should not be afraid to ask for feedback and if this feedback comes back from the client in a disorganised way, we should step up and help the client to give us the organised feedback we need. Another aspect that stood out from their talk was related to passion.
They made it very clear that not being passionate about the work you do can damage not only yourself, as you hate what you are doing, but the client at the same time. It’s a scenario where everyone loses.
Overall, I think it was a great experience and I will definitely consider going next year again. I cannot skip mentioning the amazing book by Vasava that came along with the OFFF ticket. It will be a good source of inspiration for me from now on. Until next year, there is a lot of great work to be done ☺ and I can’t wait to get it done.
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