When it comes to design conferences, most of us think of regular slideshow and smart talk they’d rather watch on YouTube later. But there is one that’s different.
OFFF started in Barcelona 19 years ago and spread out to other countries afterwards. But the main event still takes place in its hometown every spring. Our designers Sasha and Max went to OFFF together this year and we asked them to share the top 5 things they saw there and will never forget, something worth everyone’s, not just a designer’s attention.
The leitmotif of everything here is “don’t slack off, always do more than the client asks, don’t be afraid to do better, greater, crazier, push your ideas to their limits and beyond”. Now to the highlights!
1. David Carson’s nail
He might seem provocative and that’s because he is. Also very experimental. He is one of the leading type designers in the world. The story he told about losing his nail by hitting a reef while surfing gives goosebumps, but it’s a good example of what you have to pay for getting out of your comfort zone. And as a result, living a fuller life, leading to creative discoveries.
Mind-blowing kickoff and closing titles are a known OFFF tradition. This time, Ilya Abulkhanov and The Mill+ created the opening video, a sci-fi short film “ARXIV”, and the main titles were produced by Chris Bjerre.
What was interesting here is the behind the scene process and what was inspiring the artists along the way. Things like changing the camera perspective, capsule homes in Japan, power lines — the everyday things that some of us don’t even notice.
Haraldur Thorleifsson, the founder and CEO of Ueno, told 5 stories from his life that became Ueno’s core values. It was very humane and honest. Our favorite is “Bring the chocolate”. One of his former colleagues always said “If someone asks you for a coffee, bring the chocolate”, which means it’s good to do something extra for people, whether it’s personal or professional. It adds up to any relationship.In case you’re interested in the stories and values, we’ve found this video of the talk Haraldur gave at Awwwards last year, which is similar to the one he did at OFFF.
4. “Clients are ok”
ManvsMachine is a multidimensional creative studio. The main point of their presentation was that even if the project doesn’t seem exciting to you, it is you who can change that. Your perspective and your vision can do something incredible even for advertising napkins. And by the way, they did.
This is something hard to describe (we’ve tried several times). He was very relaxed on stage, talking and sipping on some wine, but his works are the opposite. We added it here because the titles that he will be making for OFFF 2020 is something our whole team is now looking for. Just check out his website.
Event organisation & management
The way OFFF is organised is superb. Barcelona’s Design Museum, or dhub, is a great venue: enough room for everyone, lots of light. You can check out the exhibitions if you have a break between the talks or just chill outside.
The only downside was the two smaller stages that were hard to get to as the number of seats was limited and you’d have to come in advance and wait for the talk to start.
What we thought was great is that there were two screens outside live streaming the presentations, so non-attendees could also get a glimpse. The atmosphere around the city changed, too: there were graffiti artists painting the walls, art installations created here and there.
We made a resolution to bring not just the designers, but also other team members aborad next year. Even though OFFF is a design fest, we believe it is interesting for anyone working with digital products. It’s about the way we communicate with the world through our work, share experience and inspiration.
It will be OFFF’s 20th anniversary, so we expect the program to be epic. See you there!