OFFF BARCELONA 2019:
OFFFicially what I needed
“We are drowned with an overabundance of information. Every day the speed of this new life we created makes it harder and harder to look back and connect with our origins, with our wild and primitive nature. Looking back, however, is necessary. It is how we remember who we are.”
– OFFF Barcelona 2019
Let me begin by saying that OFFF was OFFFicially what I needed! I’m back! And I feel revitalised with a new sense of direction and a reassurance that actually, I’m doing pretty damn well!
I’m sure there comes a time (or many times throughout the years) that as a freelancer you will experience period of self doubt; you wonder what you’re doing and if it’s for the right reasons; you’ll want to spend more time doing the things you love, rather than the things you need to do to pay the bills; you’ll be wondering when your next paycheque will waltz into your inbox; or maybe you’ll hit a creative block and be at a bit of a loose end. In any of these scenarios, it’s a bit shitty to face facts that the life of a freelancer isn’t always glamorous, but what inspired and re-energised me after attending OFFF Barcelona 2019 was being reassured that, no matter how established you are or how long you’ve been in the game – we all go through this… and we’re all in this together.
With a focus this year on technology (or even stepping away from technology), the talks I attended – both relevant and irrelevant to my industry – have provided me with a refreshed state of mind, reassurance where needed and an abundance of inspiration to take forward into my personal (yes, I’m on a mission to develop my personal projects after that) and client work.
So where did my inspiration come from? And what did I take from the talks? You can check out a few of my favourites below. Don’t forget to show them some love by clicking through to their websites! They deserve it. <3
Illustrator, graphic artist, 3D mastermind and more, Boldtron was in fact the first speaker I chose to see and boy he did not disappoint. Not only is his work absolutely mind blowing (I was and am still mildly convinced that I want to now try 3D graphics – gulp!), I was inspired by his determination to create, to reinvent and to take inspiration from old ideas and designs, turning them into something new. As artists / creatives I think it’d be easy to assume that by recycling an idea would be taking a step backwards, but by breathing new life into it in a new context or collaboration leaves you with the possibility that you may discover something new alltogether. And how amazing would that be?!
Graphic designer, lettering artist and typographer, Craig Black is my kind of motivation! Speaking from his design background and journey through the world of freelancing, I was reassured by his candid talk through the highs and lows a freelancer will (and which he still does) experience. Despite this, the most insightful (and quite frankly, obvious) thing I took away from his talk was, if you’re not getting the clients you want or you don’t have a portfolio to support that type of work, create it. Create the work you want others to hire you for. Create a portfolio that matches what you love, and in doing so you will undoubtedly carve out a path for yourself in the direction you want to go!
Presented with humour and relatability, Lobulo shared his journey in the world of graphic design – including the unusual and unexpected projects (see “old classics” in the portfolio) he encountered along the way. Now focussing on vibrant paper craft I was inspired by how he explores ideas and injects an element of fun into each of his projects, including how he sometimes goes over and above board to create something in a more complicated than necessary, just for personal development. A great method for learning, albeit a little more time consuming!
I believe his quote was:
“Why do things the easy way when you can make it complicated?”
Much like Craig Black, Ben Johnston is one of my key influencers from this festival (I’m a sucker for typography and large-scale murals, okay?!). Taking inspiration from his surroundings and his travels, Ben utilises elements of typography, buildings, patterns and more to create fascinating typographical murals that each have an element of optical illusion or distorted perspective. As creatives I believe a lot of us get stuck / used to designing in one particular way and so one key thing I took away from the talk was to ensure that, as a designer, you maintain an adaptive style, as this is what will leave you open to different opportunities. That, along ensuring that you’re fun and easy to work with will help repeat clients get on board with what you’re doing.
Trying to fit in as much as possible over the course of the weekend (and without writing paragraphs about each one – because I could!), I was also fortunate to catch the following speakers, who really inspired me with their presentations:
- Adobe Presents w/ Kim Pimmel (https://www.kimpimmel.com/) & Erin Kim (https://www.instagram.com/langmunt/)
- GMunk (100% the most hilarious presentation of the weekend) (https://gmunk.com/)
- Rutger Paulusse (https://rutger.bingo/)
- David Mikula (http://davidmikula.com/)
- B-Reel (https://b-reel.com/)
- Man vs Machine (https://mvsm.com/)
- Alex Daly (https://daly.nyc/)
- Ueno (https://ueno.co/)
So reading about all of these amazing creators you might ask, what were the ultimate things I took away from the OFFF Barcelona 2019 festival? In summary, and to stop this blog from going on any longer I would say that:
Everything is connected.
People, places, inspirations, collaborations and more; everything about you, your work and the content you create is connected. Embrace it and use it to grow.
Personal projects are a must.
No matter how great your clients (and their projects) are, self initiated projects can help you re-focus your creativity on what you love at your core. They can help you climb out of a creative block, discover something new and underneath all of the client work – remember who you are.
Collaboration and co-coperation.
Working on your own is great but working with others can bring you an abundance of new opportunities. Combining knowledge, styles, influences and ideas enables you to grow together and support each other along the way. As mentioned previously, we’re all in this together and “Co-operation, not competition” is imperative to success.
Long may my streak of inspiration continue…
Until next time,
Header image courtesy & copyright of OFFF Barcelona 2019 website.