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OFFSET 2014 - User Experience as a Creative Experience

Recently the design team at CurrencyFair took some time out to attend OFFSET 2014. No better time to feel inspired and motivated by the range of Creative speakers in Dublin to participate in this annual design fest.

We all need a little something to tickle the imagination, not least those of us that work within user centred design. Its refreshing to relish in the details of the creative process and spend time understanding how other creative disciplines have built thoughtful captivating experiences for their audiences.

It feels like Dublin has been bubbling and simmering creatively speaking in these post apocalyptic Celtic Tiger years, with its DIY Start up culture and efforts by organisations such as PIVOT Dublin, aiming to promote design as a tool for progression and innovation alongside the now internationally famous OFFSET weekend.

OFFSET 2014 Poster

Having attended other years there are normally some core messages from the speakers that resonate loudly, helping you to keep your creative self in check. This year was no exception with speakers from the world of Graphic Design, Street Art, Illustration, Advertising, Animation, Photography and Film. Whether you work in one of the above disciplines or not, OFFSET is a hotspot for anyone who is ideas driven and interested in learning about how others are making an impact creatively. This is as relevant than ever before, as it seems content marketing has reached saturation point and we are beginning to tune out.

The principal themes emerging this year centred on forming a work and play ethic as a better way to innovate. This makes sense to our teams at CurrencyFair, as alongside periods of quiet work and highly focused production, there is also time set aside for playful exploration and idea generation.

The speaker that most expanded on this idea was Jessica Walsh. She has become as well known for her professional work as for her online social experiments, like 40 Days of Dating. She spoke about her many play projects as a way of keeping curious and exploring all those …What if… ponderings. Some cynics might see such ventures as blatant self promotion, but it would be difficult to remain cynical, when taking in the breath of creativity and fun evident in the work of Sagmeister and Walsh, where she is partner alongside design master Stefan Sagmeister.

And to prove that they do create client work that does seem to be a lot of fun to make. The video below shows their approach to a brief by Adobe where they were asked to do an interpretive graphic of the Adobe logo. They turned it into a competition between Sagmeister and Walsh, as you would, naturally!

Sagmeister and Walsh Adobe Remix Project

But of course, we are quite a creative bunch ourselves. From the Irish speakers Detail agency were impressive. Their client work displayed a keen understanding of storytelling and how to build an authentic narrative around a brand.

Documentary photographer Richard Mosse was most bashful and lighthearted when describing his journeys to war ravaged regions of the world. His most outstanding contributions are the photographs taken in the Eastern Congo landscape desolated and scarred by nomadic farming practices and internationally sponsored guerilla wars. How have we forgotten about the millions that have lost their lives here? Richard’s stark and surreal photographs remind us of the beauty and complexity of life, while leaving an ethereal haunting imprint of the Congo in the mind. Here, Richards work is at its most inspiring as it pushes the boundary between artistic expression and journalistic reporting.

Richard Mosse Enclave Exhibit Richard Mosse - Enclave Exhibtion photos

The prolific Irish street artist Maser has been lifting spirits with his positive words enhancing building site hoarding and gable ends on Ireland’s, often grey, urban landscapes. Similarly he inspired with his contribution at OFFSET, where he spoke openly about mental illness, remaining positive and his commendable efforts to use his form of expression as a conduit for change in the country presently.

Chris Judge , an Irish illustrator and creator of the popular Lonely Beast books, joked about how as an audience member himself in previous years, he had the propensity to run home in tears on the Sunday evening after OFFSET, such was the weight of To Dos and resolutions clanging about the conscious. But we need to go easy with all the self-incrimination and aim to work consistently and effectively in order to reach our goals.

Jeff Greenspan's Hipster Trap

- Jeff Greenspan’s Hipster Trap

The words that will most likely resonate came from Jeff Greenspan. He did repeat them numerous times throughout his entertaining presentation and that always helps, especially on a Sunday evening.

Find your own authentic voice and speak with it very loudly.

What this means to me is be true to yourself, find work that makes you happy, work with people you like and don’t be afraid of what may come. Afterall, if we delve deep and enjoy the creative experience, we can expect to provide pleasure and an element of surprise when creating our user’s experience.

To find out more, visit the OFFSET archive

  • design
  • creative
  • Pivot Dublin
  • user experience design
  • Dublin
  • Ireland

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