Off We Set Design Conference

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Having done a few interviews with some of the speakers, I was lucky enough to be given a free ticket to Offset this weekend. A design conference of epic proportions, it provided lots of food for creative thought, and also kind of made me wish I studied VisCom/could draw better/knew how to make vector shapes.

Despite my own lack of design skillz, it was fascinating purely from a spectator’s point of view, and there was still plenty to learn that’s relevant to other creative practices.



Some nuggets of advice I gleaned:
  • Always make face-to-face meetings. Infinitely more productive than faceless emailing.
  • Go back to square one. Don’t just build on the examples before you – re-imagine your brief from the very core.
  • Having a sense of humour is good.
  • Take a different perspective.
  • Find a style, and keep it consistent. Be adaptable, but always put your own stamp on it.
  • Even if commercial work is steady, always work on personal projects to hone your style, add variety to your approach, and exercise your own, unmediated creative impulses.
  • Digital illustration is great, but working with good ol’ fashion paint is way more fun. It’s good to do both.
  • Social media works, but use it effectively. Use it personally and socially, as well as professionally.
  • When it comes to blogging platforms, it seems WordPress is king (even though I’m still in a Blogger rut – I may be moving soon, though.)
  • Take on as much work as possible, but always make sure you’re comfortable with it. Know when to say no.
  • Formal education isn’t essential. Experience and practice is.
  • Simplify.
  • Evaluate everything around you – in the words of Olly Moss, “Learning from your own mistakes is good, but learning from other people’s is better.”
Highlights of the weekend were the ingenious and hilarious Erik Kessels, the charming Stefan Sagmeister, the suave Olly Moss (oh how the girlies gushed), the illuminating UVA, but above all Pony. Pony divided opinion. Some of the people I discussed their show over pints in the Ferryman with were baffled. I, on the other hand, adored it, and spent a disproportionately large amount of the talk thinking about ways in which I could lure them into employing me.
They not only had a giant inflatable baby…
They had disco ball helmets…
They had POP…


They had lads with unidentifiable neon orbs on their heads (lampshades? tennis balls?)…
They had Panti spitting ping-pong balls into the audience…
They had a seagull singing Talking Heads…
And it was brilliant.
They put me in good spirits for venturing out into the night, and made me promise myself to be more inventive, and more camp.

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