OFFF goes Vienna and this was definitely one thing the LOOP design team couldn’t miss out. We were out for 2 days of inspirational, creative speakers, artists showcasing their products in form of t-shirts, buttons, yoga mats, surf boards and even a gin tasting stand, food trucks with fantastic hot dogs and of course a little bit of an after party.
The OFFF 2019 took place in the Gösserhalle, once a storage for beer, now taken back to new life as a pretty awesome event location, which kind of made the whole thing feel like home for us with all the brick walls and concrete floors.
But, let’s get to the heroes of this event – the speakers. They had a lot to show, amazing projects, great visual artworks and inspiring stories of failure and success.
Alright, crafting something out of paper might not really get your hands dirty, but almost all of the speakers were down for crafting stuff out of paper, wood, metal, glass, cloth,… you get the idea. Quintessentially this means that digital art doesn’t always have to be only digital. Nothing designed on just a computer can get close to the texture and depth that you get, when you use real material – also, getting your hands on actual material lets you feel what you do. Barcelona design studio Lo Siento even created a name for this method – “Craftic design”, a combination of crafts and graphic design. And in the end it’s basically just fun to build actual stuff.
None one stage took all the fame for what he or she did alone. Everyone mentioned their teams, the people behind the scenes, doing the hard work, helping to bring projects to life. All the speakers gave props to all the team member who weren’t there. One very interesting point was made by Yukiko, a Berlin based design studio – they love working together with different freelance illustrators who don’t always even get the full brief to really get an unaffected view on the project and the results for them are always baffling, creative and different.
You can’t really deliver a great project, if you only do stuff, you’re comfortable with. So, just going for your ideas, even if you feel like you’re going to fail. In the end stumbling over problems just forces you to find solutions for them. Your projects might not always turn out exactly as planned, but there’s a good chance they’ll end up even more awesome.
Talking about failing – you can’t grow, if you don’t dare to fail. So, go ahead and do stuff you can’t, but continue doing it until you’re good enough at it to move on and try something else, that you can’t do - yet. It’s called learning (duh) and again gets you out of your comfort zone.
Velvet Spectrum (a.k.a. Luke Choice) had a quote for this, from cartoon character Jake the dog (his spirit animal) – “sucking at something is the first step to being kinda good at something”.
Alright, alright, alright, we stole an old Apple claim here, but Barcelona based design studio Mucho really made the crowd blush by showing how we are all the same, liking the same furniture, using the same phones, cycling to work on the same kinds of bikes to be working on the same computers with the same software with always the same kind of briefing, over and over and over again. So they started to think outside the box, ignoring huge parts of briefings. This is what really makes you stand out and gets your client some uniqueness.
Most of those points seem like no-brainers. Duh, team’s important, no kidding should you do new stuff and really – think outside the box? But sometimes, doing your day-by-day-design-job you might forget these very important things, with your headphones on, designing the same thing 9 to 5, day by day. So, this little reminder to focus on what’s important was for sure worth checking out the first and hopefully not last OFFF in Vienna.
So, to sum all of that up - the major learning remains to be – get out there, find inspiration by just looking up, do stuff, especially if you’re not comfortable with it and most importantly – HAVE FUN DOING IT!