The OFFF Festival celebrates its “Finally Fucking Fifteen” years in the Museo del Disseny — with an outstanding signage made by Atlas studio — in Barcelona, Spain. The festival is all about showcasing good ideas, inspiring and exchanging experiences, from graphic to motion design, and even UI/UX design. All attendees are given an amazing book that summarizes the event, designed by Vasava.
The whole concept lives in an esoteric world where the reality meets the fiction, taking us on a journey through the design and how it can live together with art and still be used for business purposes.
Here at Gen, overall, we stay pretty much on top of “now”. Everything happening micro or macro wise, even niche movements in each of our fields, we get a good grip on it.
But what is this conference about? Three hasty days, two main rooms and one common hall populated with rising designers, showcasing illustrations, jewelry, books, interacting platforms and even a tattoo pop-up station. The relaxed and informal mood spreads throughout: grabbing a coffee is easy and fun — exchanging a post-it note with a phrase or a drawing brings some color to the inner white walls. Outside, amazing food-trucks fill a balcony with locally made food.
How do we break it down?
It all comes down to experimenting, learning, keeping an eye for social media, and a multidisciplinary posture. Also putting faces to names whose work we all admire and getting to know a bit more of some of the personal sides to some work is always interesting.
The typographer Gemma O’brien shows how it is possible to just have fun with trying new things and use instagram to fuel it up, resulting in amazing typographic murals.
Gmunk, the cross media genius, are an example of how sci-fi experimenting meets business on design and advertising.
Anton & Irene voice their frustration. The UX/UI dynamic duo was an eye-opener on what comes to the work process and attitude before the clients. “Be nice to people, it’s easier this way” and bad moods didn’t ever helped to make great projects.
Jan de Coster is an example of how a robot-engineer can have such a deep connection that fuels his work and how we can connect with design artifacts.
Steven Wilson as an honest example of evolution and how adapting to the times is crucial in the creative business. There is no room to say no, say yes and push yourself to make good design.
The American stop-motion animation studio Laika gave us an insight of the team and multidisciplinary work: more than 400 people work for 3 years, from carpentry to animation.
Pat Perry, a distinct example. His references transcend his work: it’s all about living and being in frequency with yourself. Camping, the woods, random lakes and good and humble friends.
AKQA shared some content from behind the scenes of some of their latest advertisement work, such as the Ice Kings campaign for Nike. With high-end interactive technology used, it brings a breath of fresh air to some big brands, such as Nike, working as a team to set them afar from the rest of the brands.
Mirko Borsche has a particular approach to design, with his sense of humor/attitude, taking interior design to an interpretation of screen-saver interaction.
Foreign Policy Design with this awe-inspiring work, leaving an entire audience mouth opened.
Rick Banks, an example of a presentation with real content. Went all the way from the source of inspiration until execution. It is curious how, in general, presentations are incremental to how we truly perceive someone’s work. The same applies for 310.
Sagmeister always brings interesting perspectives, reiterating how beauty truly is function. He showed a typographic slow-motion video of textures, revealing how we are attracted to the aesthetics of something.
Inspiration can literally come from anywhere, as long as you can keep an open mind to it — always look for rich and contextual experiences.
However, as part of the audience at OFFF 2015, the queues and some poorly designed presentations, which didn’t really show anything new, left a bitter aftertaste.
A brilliant presentation takes more than a showcase of great design. Being honest and vulnerable on stage is one of the most admirable aspect. It’s all about the process.
The community is definitely not stagnant: glimpses of avant-garde style are deductible - motion studios trying to move into film, pushing their visual excellence and experience to narrative driven pieces, or lone designers making the best of their personal exploration and learning process.
OFFF, or any other event that gathers a good selection of designers, should be interesting to get something more everlasting out of the work we aspire to match.
Keeping that in mind, the amount of above par designers and artists make the whole experience worth it.
“Stay humble”, “do what you love”, “question the conventions”, and “have fun”.