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OFFSET 2017 Highlights #Recap

OFFSET, one of the creative highlights of our year, took place over the weekend and we were once again incredibly entertained and buzzing with inspiration, fueled by the fantastic line-up of speakers who shared their experiences in the industry with us!

We doodled on our coffee cups, we screenprinted some fab posters, (thank you Damn Fine Print!) and we throughly enjoyed the hustle and bustle of creatives in the beautiful Bord Gáis Energy Theatre!

We thought we'd jot down some of our favourite bits, while it's all still fresh in our minds, so check out a recap of some of our highlights from this year below!

We were treated to a whole host of designers, digital artists, illustrators and creative agencies this year, kicking off with illustrator Rod Hunt, best known for his isometric buildings and cityscapes, who opened the event with a terrific talk about his creative process while sharing some great advice applicable to artists of all disciplines:

1. Don't be afraid of change.

2. Indulge your personal interests.

3. It's about problem-solving - not creating a style.

4. Every brief needs a solution.

5. Develop client relationshios.

6. Create a niche.

7. Self promotion - If no one sees your work, you won't get a commission.

8. Think global!

9. Never work for free* - (charity work being the exception)

10. Think BIG because everyone else thinks small.

Yasmeen Ismail had us in fits of laughter throughout her talk, as she described her circuitous route into children's publishing. Having tried on a number of creative caps - animator, art director, script writer, and transitioning from a co-founder to an intern, she has finally settled into writing and illustrating children's books and uses the skills she learned along the way in her work.

Illustrator Marion Deuchars advised us to draw for pleasure and reconnect with our child brain. Her beautiful childlike lettering and illustration style utilises this advice exactly and exudes a freshness and deceptive simplicity.

She refreshingly confessed to her inability to create highly detailed backgrounds and how she found the opportunity in this by leaving out backgrounds in her picture books altogether and instead focussing on her characters, advising “sometimes you have to work to your strengths.”

She also posed the question “when was the last time you painted a rainbow?” and how pleasant it can be to go back to the way we drew in childhood and return to the notion of “play” when creating.

Mirko Borsche warned us that “sometimes you don't get it right”, something he experienced when doing approx. 450 iterations of a book cover for Phaidon that they ended up rejecting.

Fashion photographer Nhu Xuan Hua delighted us with her exquisite shoots, explaining how her family and early years influenced the narratives contained and explored in her work.

And of course, to whet our animation appetite, Robert Cullen from Boulder Media gave us a peek into the work involved in creating the rebooted Danger Mouse series and the process in updating it for a new generation while remaining true to the original style.

Robert also doled out some great advice for aspiring and veteran animators alike:

“Always trust your gut instinct.”

“Draw EVERY day. You're always getting better, always learning. If you stop drawing you get rusty so quickly.”

“Don't stop drawing for your own pleasure. Remember why you did it in the first place.”

“Look at great movies. But also look at terrible ones too and ask yourself 'how would you fix it?'”

Award-winning illustrator Laura Carlin also praised the child part of the brain and railed against the idea of good and bad art. Advising the audience to take on challenges and step out of their comfort zone by learning new skills, the reason behind her taking up ceramics, “learning a new skill can be frustrating and awkward but it shakes you up a bit!”

We were also delighted to have taken part in the Beck's Be Kreativ 'Shaping the Future' panel which saw our VP of HR Susan Cunningham alongside Alex Milton (NCAD), Madeline Boughton (Creative Ireland), Ciaran ÓGaora (zero-g, 3x3) and Dannielle Townsend (DID) discussing the role of education in preparing young creatives for employment and new initiatives needed to shape a sustainable creative landscape.

Thank you to all the crew of OFFSET for setting up another knock-out event!

Looking forward to next year already!

Anahita Tabarsi

Anahita is Brown Bag Films' Marketing Director, Digital & Social and drinks more than five coffees a day...

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