OFFF13 Barcelona

Passion Projects and Collaboration. This was the concurrent theme throughout the varied talks curated by Hector (Senoré OFFF).

It started with opening titles which included not only the names of the speakers but all the attendees. A very real feeling of David Cameron’s famously false quote ‘We’re all in this together’ swept over the exhibition hall.

North Kingdom candidly described a ‘dark period’ in the development of the studio, when they literally had no money to pay themselves, yet the belief in each other kept them together. They developed new techniques, refined old, neglected skills and engaged in experimentation with their downtime. After many months the break finally came and the rest is what we know of them now.

B-Reel discussed how they “have no place for egos” and that “fighting is good”, challenging the hyper competitive nature of big traditional agencies. Studios that utilise this kind of collaboration will stay fresh, allowing ideas to flow from the breadth of talent sitting at every desk.

“Make your own reality” the brilliant Santiago Orbitz said during his presentation on his 6 month sabbatical to redefine his career. “Play is a state of mind” said Jessica Walsh, whose talk focused on how to be more happy at work and how her interest and suddenly her career in design spawned from playing a tamagochi style game.
“Exploring other mediums you’re passionate about is good” the Unit9 Berlin speakers announced while they described projects such as ‘Slavery Footprint’, where they pushed the UI design boat out despite the small production budget and from that won it international attention.
Saranofsky described producing the beautiful work for ‘Girl Rising’ as one of the yearly projects ‘for good’ i.e. for little or no money they do because they believed in it.
Signal Noise (aka James White) & McBess were standout in their actualisation of this ‘build your own reality’ through their constant play with materials, styles and themes which then went onto get them more work and continue to play.
The madness of Hungry Castle was infectious, the showing of their ‘Sausage Club’ & ‘Shit Log’ destroyed the audience into laughter and delight, highlighting for us how taking risks with your own ideas can pay off. ‘Collaborate with people more talented than you’ they said, this is no more true than today when creatives are expected to be able to work with digital design, print design, photography, typography, illustration etc.

Brosmind, were the epitome of ‘Play’, a very perfect ending to the festival. Everyone in my group left feeling energised and hungry with ambition.

Will we have integrated these new insights into our lives by the time we turn up here again for OFFF14? The design world depends on it.