Design & Freelancing

Our Review of OFFF 2017 – First Day

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Investing in conferences is something very common for us at MOWE. For a long time, OFFF festival has been one of the highest parts of my year. It’s not just a conference, it’s a place to get inspiration and get yourself pumped to do more and more work.

With the tickets bought to Barcelona, I was invited by Layer Lemonade – one of the biggest blogs of Motion Graphics in Brazil – to cover the three days of the event. The Brazilian community is not used to receive events like this and traveling outside of the country isn’t easy for everybody there. So, the purpose of this post was to bring the feeling and insights from this edition of OFFF and also show why investing in conferences like can be very important for your career. This post was originally published on Layer Lemonade – in Portuguese – and we’ve translated and adapted to English especially for our readers. It’s a 3-part series covering each day of the conference

We wrote an article last year about our experience of OFFF. If you didn’t read it yet, it’s really quick and can be a good introduction to the event. This year was the 17th edition of the conference, which already had one Brazilian edition, but the main festival happens in the beautiful city of Barcelona.

Let me give you a brief explanation of how this event works. It happens from around 11 AM until 9 PM with plenty of talks from big Designers, Artists and Studios. There are two stages where you can follow the speakers, with one new speaker every hour on each of the stages, during all the three days of the event. Designers and creatives from all the world come for those 3 great days of immersion.

Yes, you read it right. It’s in Europe, far away from Brazil and many other countries (especially in the Americas). The end goal of this article is to motivate you and show why it’s worth investing in going to a conference abroad.

Back to our topic, I’ll guide you through some of the best talks that I was able to experience on this first day.

Outro Studio

The beginning of everything started this studio that has a curious name for us in Brazil. ”Outro” in Portuguese means like “other”, but here, ”Outro” means the opposite of ”Intro”. I personally had the pleasure of visiting their studio in the past and they are great. Located in Barcelona, they do motion graphics, websites, animations, graphic design and even more. Outro Studio developed both the Opening Titles and the branding of the event, which was incredible.

The presentation of the Opening Title is a tradition at OFFF. Every year, one of the first talks is the presentation of both branding and Opening Title for this year’s edition of the event. The same team that works on both of them also creates the speaker titles, presented before the start of each talk.

One of the first things they talked was about Low-Budget Projects that increase their creativity and make them poor. The goal was to give the idea that you don’t need to wait for the ”super-high-budget” project, a huge team, and the perfect client to make something good. In fact, they’ve accepted projects without budgets, some of them with just $30 Euros, and even with that, they were able to do a music video. It’s more about investing in your work and in the things you believe. 

There’s a harsh truth that it won’t bring you any financial sustainability and that you should rely on other projects for moments like that, or even that you should have some savings to allow you to allocate the necessary hours to do this. However, those projects are the ones that you can put our own identity, do whatever you want to do, and that will actually translate the best of you.

“Personal work helps us grow and make clients see us.”

Outro Studio has something that I thought very interesting. It’s called SFFPP or “Small Fast Fun Personal Project”. Those are projects that usually take a few hours or a single day to do them. The goal is to think of a project capable of being done in this amount of time, and then produce it without going above this scope. Simply getting the work done and putting your work outside in the world.

One last thing I liked about Outro talk is that they mention a project that they were hired first to do some “infographics” and later realized the client was looking for a Motion project. This project not only led to this motion piece but they ended up doing some branding work as a result of it.

Professionalism is not only about how you do your work, but how you present and position yourself to your clients.

If a client comes to you with a project idea, that doesn’t mean it’s really what they need. You need to go deeper and present yourself like every designer is: a solution provider. You need to understand the true needs of your clients and help them on solving it in the best way possible. 

Sometimes, an animation is not the best option for your client to invest at that moment. If you help them to visualize this and provide them with an option that will be better, they will not only be happy with your direction but will always look for you when they need something for their business.

Adam J. Kurtz

Adam has a work that is very simple in terms of skills but is brilliant in terms of message. They may seem like simple notes but their messages can relate to lots of people.

“Figure out what you are saying and they fucking say it”

He started by writing those notes and posting them on Social Media. Now, he’s producing books through kickstarted funding campaigns. What started as a personal project is now a big list of products, ranging from balloons to mugs, shirts and even ashtrays

A curious thing he mentioned he has done while creating those books was to set a goal of doing one page at a time or day. He would sit and draw or write something on a paper, for a certain amount of time, and that’s it. He wouldn’t worry about perfection, the end results, or other stupid things. He would just worry about being himself and saying what he had to say.

He also talked about how using true feelings in his work helped him to achieve success. Do your work for yourself. Brands have money and they are willing to spend those on people they see as genuine artists. Find a way and have fun in the process. This is how you evolve your work.

Kelli Anderson

Kelli spoke after Michael Chaize (from Adobe) did a presentation of the new Adobe Sensei and other news. Adobe is a common sponsor at OFFF and they are always bringing new stuff for people to experiment there.

Kelli Anderson – who has partnered with Adobe several times – showed her workspace and a little of her craft. She works with paper – all kinds of paper – folding and tying them to create amazing sculptures and pieces.

Paper is one of the most non-technological materials you can expect to find, but the work she does with it is incredible. She has been using paper in Pop-Up books to create structures like a planetarium, an instrument, and even a camera. All of them 100% functional.

What is important to absorb here is the fact you don’t need to rely on technology to do good work. Instead of trying to simulate an effect, just go and make it yourself. Use the tools you have. There’s no need to lock yourself on big budgets or equipments to do good work.


Buck was the highest moment of my day since Buck is definitely a big reference for me. If you know Buck’s work, you’ve already seen that they do all kinds of animation, from Motion Graphics to 3d and frame by frame. In this edition of OFFF, they presented mostly their frame by frame projects, but the theme of their talk was only one: Storytelling.

As communicators, the ability to tell stories is what validates the work we do. No matter the technique we apply, we need to make work that can impact people. Buck focused a lot on this subject and especially on building emotions. Even tough they presented some crazy frame by frame behind the scenes, they only made sense and were fully enjoyable after understanding its story.

Our animations create an impact in the world, in the people we work with and also in the people that receive our work.

“What makes an animation project good is not the fanciest of the techniques or the high-skilled professional. It’s the story the animation carries.”

This was a strong message Buck left to all of us and that made me think a lot about how to approach things in my own work.

Imaginary Forces

To end the day, we saw the huge Imaginary Forces. They are largely well-known for their work incredible work with title sequences. They presented some behind the scenes of great projects like Jessica Jones, Black Sails, God of War, and Stranger Things. What I liked the most from them is that they not only create the Titles, but they also develop the identity for most of the series.

Stranger Things was a great example of that. The initial ideas they had looked nothing like the end result. They showed their whole process, from the references they got from the 80’s, all the books and films from that period with a similar language, and also how they managed to translate those feelings into the typographic title we see nowadays.

It was centered a lot in the process and in how things can evolve. Basically, all the references they showed were related to other forms of design and art, like photos, sculptures, etc.

Our work is not influenced by just watching other Motion Design pieces, they are the results of everything we absorb.

This talked reminded us that we need to put ourselves in contact with many different forms of art, learn from them and get inspired by the things they have to offer.

That’s a wrap

Hope I didn’t get you overwhelmed with lots of information. Those were my favorite talks from the first day. All the subjects of the talks make us think and rethink our work, reflecting on how we can improve it. That’s the gist of going to conferences like that.

Don’t give a shit to what other people will say. Just do the work. Sit on your chair and create something. Create what you want to create, and do it constantly. This will help you to develop your skill and find your own style.

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If you are curious about the second day, click here.

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