OFFF Festival 2016 – Barcelona
Another year has past and we were lucky enough to attend another OFFF festival in the sunny city of Barcelona. Spread over 3 days, OFFF festival is held at the beautiful Disseny Hub Barcelona, attracts thousands of local and international designers from all backgrounds and brings together some of the design industry’s top talent to share their knowledge, experiences, work and inspire the audience.
This year the audience were treated to the likes of the 80s retro style inspired James White aka Signalnoise, the one & only Paula Scher from Pentagram, the lyrically gifted & cheeky illustrator Mr Bingo, the digital power house of Sid Lee and even a gig with some insane live coded visuals by OFFF festival’s godfather & creative coder Joshua Davis alongside the incredibly talented & former M.I.A drummer Kiran Gandhi, plus many more.
In true OFFF fashion the event was kicked off with the opening titles produced by the students at Atelier, an independent design school based in Barcelona. The students not only write, design, film and produce the opening titles but are also responsible for creating all the branding for the event from the t-shirts, fliers and welcome packs that the audience receive to the speaker stings and the teaser trailer posted shortly before OFFF festival begins.
Teaser Trailer OFFF 2016
On the first day we enjoyed the company of Ustwo, who gave us an insight into their studio culture and discussed some of the projects that they had been working on both as client work but more interestingly the self initiated work. I found their internal motto really good, inspiring and pretty much a great way to approach new ides – JFDI (Just F#@king Do It).
Another highlight from day one was most certainly Paula Scher, who graced the stage with her many years of experience and also discussed some really interesting projects that covered not only design but moved more into social & cultural spaces. One example is the fantastic work Pentagram produced for the regeneration of Rockaway Beach. Using bold and customised typography Paula & the team at Pentagram managed to breathe a new life into the newly reopened beach boardwalk in Queens, New York.
The biggest surprise talk was the team from Sid Lee, I had not heard of them before, however, when they took the stage I was totally engaged. The company ethos is similar to that of RoomCR6 with a clear focus on client work but also realising the importance of creative free time to work on side or self initiated projects. A great take away quote from their talk was, “What a group does with its billable time determines its income for a year. What it does with its non billable time determines its future.”
We also heard from the guys at Unit 9 who gave us all a great overview of the work they have been exploring in the Virtual Reality sector. If you are interested in VR I would definitely suggest having a look at the work they produce, check out Storm – a virtual reality experience that combines puzzle solving with a sense of urgency to a new level of realism. It manages to evoke primal instincts.
Signalise then took to the stage and carried the audience off on a nostalgic tour back into the 80s with his neon colours and retro pop culture illustrations. His talk took a very personal approach showing how he developed as a designer and illustrator from childhood with him ending on several points that seem to be a general theme at OFFF – Self initiated projects and sharing of your work.
Day two was wrapped up with a very special performance by Joshua Davis, aka the godfather of OFFF, and former M.I.A drummer Kiran Gandhi. Joshua was on stage live coding and producing some stunning visuals whilst Kiran was ripping up the drum set and providing the OFFF audience with a grove that they couldn’t help but jump up and dance to. Half way through the set the audience pretty much stormed the stage and the conference turned into an impromptu party and gig! This has to be one of the most exciting things I have ever experience at a design event! Kudos to Joshua Davis & Kiran Gandhi!
Day three started off a little quietly as I think most people were scattered around Barcelona nursing a hangover for the previous night’s events. We joined in a little later in the day to hear Johnny Cupcakes take us through the journey of setting up his extremely successful t-shirt business.
Following Johnny Cupcakes we had Mr Bingo up on stage chatting about his project Hate Mail and his kickstarter campaign he set up to produce his coffee table book for the project. Mr Bingo took the audience through a few kickstarter campaign videos to prove a point in how dull and boring they generally are. With this in mind he wrote, recorded and filmed a parody rap video with the help of friends.
We got ourselves cosy after the second break and watched the awesome talk from Golden Wolf who, once again, talked of the importance of self initiated projects and how their 8 second videos lead to paid client work.
Last but by no means least we were treated to the OFFF festival tradition of the Main titles produced by one of our favourite UK based designers, the extremely energetic and enthusiastic Gavin Strange, aka JamFacotry, alongside with him onstage was Merlin Crossingham both from Aardman. The guys took the stage and unleashed 2016’s OFFF festival’s Main Titles, which blew the audience away! Here for your viewing pleasure are the titles! Enjoy
As another OFFF festival drew to a close we left feeling inspired by all the incredible designers and creatives that took the stage. Not only did we enjoy our time in sunny Barcelona and meeting some cool fellow creatives but we have also left with lots of new ideas. One of the biggest points made by nearly all of those who took the stage this year year seemed to be the importance of creating passion projects and self initiated pieces of work. With that in mind we are back in London and ready to make this a creative summer! Thanks to all at OFFF festival and see you again next year.