Five Things We Learned At OFFF Barcelona 2017
Last month, we were at the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona for OFFF 2017. Over the course of three days, we joined creatives from all over the world in showcasing and discussing the most avant-garde trends in design, advertising, cinema, television and editorial art.
- Do your own thing
Craig Stewart: “A trend that came across loud and clear from many of the speakers was “don’t follow trends!” The message I heard over and over was to always trust yourself – do your own thing, be you and don’t let anyone or anything change you.”
Sarah Dawood: “Jim Bull of Moving Brands was particularly inspiring. While he focused on the need for originality in his talk, he also spoke about how designers should remember they are not the most important part of the equation, and that they should try to empathise and put themselves in the position of the client rather than sit on a pedestal or ivory tower. This was an interesting counter-viewpoint not often taken by designers.”
- Hard work pays off
Sarah Dawood: “Kelli Anderson taught everyone that persistence can pay off. She spends weeks toiling over her paper creations, making sure they function fully as objects such as record players and cameras, before sending them off for mass production. She showed her audience that crafting by hand is actually a very thorough, practical and tactile way of learning, when perhaps playing around with a vector on a screen is not always as effective.”
Julia Sagar: “Kelli Anderson’s dedication to long-term projects really stood out to me. She brought in top-level science to explain her workings, which was fascinating, and she’s doing things nobody else has done with paper craft – pop-up record players and pin-hole cameras. Her achievements are outstanding. These projects don’t just happen with a week or two of research: this is long-term work, which seems almost unusual now in a world of instant ‘look at me’ creativity.”
- Embrace your personality within your work
Sarah Dawood: “One key thing I learned was that designers should not be afraid of showing their personalities, particularly in personal projects. Leta Sobierajski and Wade Jeffree were unapologetic about letting their personalities show in their work, making fun of themselves and using each other as the subject of hilarious photography projects. Sometimes, a little bit of humour can add life and originality to a design studio.”
- Show honesty
Sarah Dawood: “Adam J. Kurtz referred to himself in his talk as the “Taylor Swift” of the gift product world, which was hilariously accurate given the candid break-up and love notes he plasters over his designs. His products have been incredibly popular in stores such as Urban Outfitters, showing that consumers appreciate honesty. In a similar vein to Leta & Wade, he showed that there is no harm in exposing your vulnerabilities in your work and showing the potential to be self-deprecating.”
- OFFF is a great place to socialise and learn
Julia Sagar: “Everyone is a designer or animator and everyone has something interesting to say. If you’re not bumping into talented creatives at the bar or in town after the last talk, you’re meeting people outside the venue and watching a talk together in the sun. Interesting discussions are happening everywhere – it’s the best place to meet like-minded people without an agenda. And when all the ideas stop, the beer flows.”
Thank you to Craig Stewart, Julia Sagar and Sarah Dawood for sharing their experiences and insights from the OFFF Festival 2017.