Entering the doors of Bord Gais Energy Theatre during Offset weekend, is like entering into a world of design. After a rummage through our Offset totes, we took our seats to listen to Bruno Maag, founder of the independent font foundry, Dalton Maag. During his talk, he explained the connection between science and design by presenting facts about the human retina. “Science is great, I love science", he said, while flicking between slides that gave us so much to think about when designing for screen. “It's no use making something look good on large monitors we sit behind every day, when the reality is that our design solutions are actually being seen on small handheld devices." Maag reminded us that our job is not just to make something look good, but to make something work, to solve a problem, and deliver the solution. “We are designers, not artists." After the Friday of Offset, we even managed to steal a dance with him at the delegates party. Not only is he a great typographer, but a great dancer too!
Animator, Kirsten Lapore brought us through a timeline of her work from college to her current work. Bringing in that human element of older work, mistakes, embarrassments and learnings is often more inspiring to see than recent, more professional work. In design you never stop learning. A creatives work is constantly changing and evolving over time, and Kristen Lapore is a great example of this.
The Saturday at Offset showcased more commercial based work. Nils Leonards had the advertisers in the audience crippled in laughter with his agency humour. Chemistry asked half the theatre to stand and demonstrated just how many people in Ireland will have cancer by 2020. It brought a pensive moment to the Offset weekend and showcased the mix of emotions that design can provoke. Although it hit home, it didn't take away from the laughing and learning at the “Beck's Be Kreativ" talk on the second stage. The Saturday discussion was made up of a witty panel consisting of Vanessa Power, Jamie Murphy, and Adrian and Shane, as they talked about crafting a creative career. The odd 'f' word brought a touch of honesty and Irish wit to this brilliant panel, who were testaments to the quote “do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life."
Laura Carlin stole the Sunday at Offset with a headline saying “Window cleaner killed by giant pencil". We can't exactly remember the relevance of this slide, but have kept our pencils at a distance this morning (just in case). Carlin broke the stereotype that “illustrating childrens books is easy." Children are the harshest critics due to their honesty. Their imaginations mean they are more creative than the majority of designers and illustrators - a tough crowd to please.
Throughout the weekend, some of the social media attendees panicked with the lack of coverage inside the theatre, while the rest of us embraced the excuse to mix, mingle and learn. Leaving Bord Gais on Sunday evening, we took home more than just a tote bag of goodies, we also brought home a notebook of inspiration, learnings and sore sides from all the laughing. Offset 2017 did not disappoint, and we're already excited for Offset 2018.