Design & Freelancing

Our Review of OFFF 2017 – Third Day

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This is the third part of a series of posts where I’m sharing my experiences from OFFF 2017. If you haven’t read them yet, you can start here

We reached the last day covering OFFF 2017. This third day was less intense in terms of Motion Graphics projects but was full of big and iconic designers. Seeing the big names of the design in front of you is something inspiring. Together with this, we had a variety of artists and the presentation of the Main Title, a special moment that always ends the conference.

Ivan Cash

The first speaker of the day was the director and artist called Ivan Cash, that focused his presentation on human connections. His work represents part of his efforts to make people connect more and more with people they already know or even with complete strangers.

In one of his speeches, he threw the following question: What if we stopped thinking of people as consumers?. Ivan was actually questioning the fact that many companies and designers look to people as tools who have money to spend with them. He brings the question about seeing them as another human and the possibility of building a deeper relationship and connection with them.

One of his most known work is called Snail Mail My Email. An art project that transforms emails in hand-crafted letters, without any cost. This project started with just Ivan and a few people he knew, trying to take the coldness of email and turning them into something unique and caring.

The project got big really quickly and to continue producing it, with the number of people they had, was impossible. That’s when Snail Mail My Email opened itself for volunteers all around the world, willing to participate in the project for free. Since 2011, more than 2,000 volunteers sent almost 30,000 letters for more than 80 countries.

Ivan Cash brought some points that serve as guidelines for his works and that I found really interesting:

Simple > Complex

There’s no need to build the most complex and elaborate project. Simple projects can be as effective as complex projects, but much easier to produce.

Real > Purpose

It’s much more valuable to create something that is real than just staying in the intention of building it. Action is what moves people.

Experimental > Controlled

It’s common for people to accommodate themselves by doing things they already know instead of jumping into new experiences. For Ivan, experimenting is much more powerful than having a controlled environment. The mystery of not knowing how the result will be is what intrigues him.

 

One of the main messages of this talk was also about going out of your comfort zone. Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone can allow you to create new things you may have never imagined before. You need to take risks and even break rules in order for your work to reach the world.

A proof of that is his project called No Tech Zone, which consists of installing fake signs in parks and public areas of San Francisco, saying that it was prohibited the use of electronic devices, such as cellphone, tables, etc.

The way those signs were made and installed made a huge part of the population, and even the news, to be intrigued about this “new law” nobody knew about. He had to break the law by making an identical sign and fixing it with the exact same tools, in order for people to believe in it.

Going back to the topic about human connection, this project was created after Ivan himself observed in many parks, families and friends together, each one focused on their own cellphone instead of being focused on the moment and their surroundings. All of this made me think about how us, as Motion Designer and Animators, can build projects capable of creating those impacts on people’s life.

Jamhot

Jamhot is a creative agency in Glasgow, Scotland, that produces work for many different medias. The creators of Jamhot showed us a little bit on how everything started(if I’m not wrong it was in someone else’s house) and how the agency works nowadays.

They talked a lot about the importance of positioning yourself as a professional to your clients. Jamhot presented the following phrase he once heard from a client in beginning of their days: ”I made so many revisions that I feel like I’m the designer and you’re just the guy moving the mouse.

I imagine how much you can also relate to it. In the end, the client here was right. Clients don’t hire designers so they can use the mouse and click on things in a software. The designer is here to help them on making decisions and presenting them with the best solutions available.

A lot of designers “complain” about a client “messing up” with their work, but the truth is that the designer himself allowed that by not taking responsibility for their work. The client must have his role focused on providing the objectives and the content for you, the designer, to use your expertise and knowledge to think and execute the project.

Besides that, they commented also about their positioning as professionals and the importance of paying people on the right time. This is something that I relate a lot and that is very present at MOWE Studio. We worked before in other companies, on agencies, as freelancers, etc, and we know how “bad” many of those places can be for those who work for them.

Because of that, we always look to treat those who work with us like they were our team. Paying people at the right time is one of the best things you can do for a sustainable relationship. If a professional trusts you and knows they’ll be receiving their money at the right time, they’ll have more drive and focus to do better work and help you achieve better results. Everyone wins at the end.

The last segment of Jamhot’s presentation was quite interesting. They opened it with the phrase:

Your dream is only one email away

They presented a series of works and opportunities they had and that only happened because of the fact that they sit and wrote an email to that person or company. Things won’t happen if you don’t act. It can look so obvious but a lot of people don’t understand or don’t put it in practice.

A great example of this is that last year, after they left OFFF 2016, they went back to Scotland and sent an email to Hector, the creator of the conference, talking about how much they liked the event and how they would love to be talking there. The result? Well, I think if I’m talking about them right now there’s nothing more to comment, right? ;)

Anthony Burril

Anthony Burril well-known by his posters and his typographic work. He presented some behind the scenes of some of his posters, especially showing the power of expression that classic tools can give you. Anthony also talked about how design and art are capable of connecting people.

One of his most famous work is the “Work Hard and Be Nice to People” poster, that was created in 2004, initially as a gift for friends and as a way of self-promotion to be sent to potential clients. This is one of his most “stolen” works around the internet, with lots of versions and styles.

However, the original one was printed using a traditional letterpress and carries a curious history about how it was inspired by a conversation he ended up listening in a supermarket, where an old lady was sharing the secret of a happy life with a worker there. He related with what he listened and this motivated him to create the poster.

Anthony Burrill made different versions of this poster, in many different languages. One of them was the portuguese version that he did inside Gráfica Fidalga in São Paulo. He told us about the experience of arriving in Brazil, getting into an old car(Kombi) and going to this print shop where they produced letterpress posters.

The most curious fact is that none of them spoke the language of the other. They communicated simply by gestures and through the work they were doing. This way, he showed us how our work is capable of making us connect with other people, even without saying any words.

Valée Duhamel

Valée Duhamel is a Studio based in Canada, founded by Julien Valée and Eve Duhamel, whose work mixes a lot of stop motion and live action. One of the ways they classify their work is by the term ”Good Quality, Lo-Fi”. They use simple elements to create projects with amazing quality.

Something that impressed me a lot was how they use colors in their work. They are always able to combine vivid colors and create huge visual impact. Besides that, their work has the power to confuse us if what we are seeing is real or not. Sometimes, it’s possible to believe something was made inside a 3D software when in fact everything was made by hand and filmed, only for those projects. It makes their work to have a unique characteristic.

The reason why they are at this edition of OFFF is the fact that they were invited to create the Main Titles of the conference. Like the Opening Titles, every year an artist or studio is invited to create this specific video. The Main Title is one of the highest experiences of OFFF and that a lot of people wait for every year.

The title they made plays with the imagination, with the real and the unreal, and especially with how everything there grows as the time goes without any element colliding with each other.

All this happens at the same time it presents the name of all the designers and artists that were presenting their work in those three days of the conference. It was an incredible way to finish those three magical days of inspiration for everyone who was there.

In one specific moment of the video, we can see some paper airplanes flying through the scenario. As usual, every year, the creators of the Main Title end up building something to interact with the public. It can be a gift from something related to the video or moving everybody to do something. This year, all the attendees received a sheet of paper and were told to build some paper airplanes and throw them at the same time. It was more than 2,000 airplanes flying over OFFF’s stage, building this unique moment of relationship with the video.

Lance Wyman

Even tough the Main Title is the one that “ends” OFFF every year, the last speaker is always someone special. This year we had the pleasure to see Lance Wyman, with more than 50 years of experience in design, having created many brands and unique projects that last for years.

One of his most famous projects was the branding for the Olympics of Mexico in 68. You probably have seen this project somewhere during college or simply on the internet. This iconic project created a huge impact in Mexico City. Besides his branding project, he ended up being well-known for his works with urban icons like signs, maps, etc.

A great example of this work was the iconography done for the Olympics. The gist of the iconography that was developed was to create a system where people from all over the world could understand what the message, without the need to having a text translated in many and many languages.

The success of this project was so big that even nowadays(basically 50 years later) the sign system he made is still in use in the city’s metro. It didn’t just stay the same over the years, but it also evolved together with the city as new lines were created. This work extended to numerous other projects, since the map of Washington’s Metro, until the finalization of the Minnesota Zoo.

He mentioned something about teaching design and the creative process that I found really interesting and I think we all should think about:

“You can create an environment to show how to concept something but you can’t teach them how to do it.”

At the end of the day, the experience and effort we put into our work are what allows ideas to come to life.

Conclusion

To me, this last day was a lot more for reflection than any other. Less of those impactful projects full of effects, and more focused on the simple reason why we create things.

With this last post, we end what was this exchange of experiences and content I absorbed from OFFF. I want this to inspire and motivate all of you to invest on conferences like these, either in your country or outside of it.

The gain we have in terms of knowledge, ideas and reflections, bring a return way bigger than the price we paid to attend the event.

Just as Lance Wyman said during his talk:

“Every experience is incredibly viable for your career”

Stepping out of your comfort zone is a need. Get out of your “bubble” and start to absorb content from other areas. Use all forms of experiences as inspiration, and especially, connect even more with other people.

As a final note, I have three points that I think everyone should follow after those 3 days of experiences from OFFF:

  • Don’t give a fuck to what others will think about your work.
  • Invest in personal and collaborative projects.
  • Connect with other people.

Thank you for following this series of the three days of OFFF. I Hope I can meet you all next year at OFFF 2018 and on many other conferences around the world.

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