Three days of sitting and listening always seems daunting at first – but I never fail to come away from OFFSET feeling inspired. Here are a few of my best bits from 2018:
Gail Bichler, Design Director of The New York Times Magazine gave a fascinating talk about her work on the iconic publication, specifically the covers and special issues that they have made over the years. One special issue that stood out to me as particularly well done featured the buildings in New York that are over 800 feet tall. For that edition, the magazine layout was turned vertically: the editorial team had to shorten their headlines to fit the new aspect, and all the magazine's advertisers flipped their ads, too.
The cover of The New York Times Magazine is a really flexible space to work in, as it's one of the few magazines in the world that features only its title on the cover. Because of this, the team has been able to play around with the name over the years, even going so far as to cover it, substitute some of the letters, or squash them all into one corner.
Apart from her experience, Gail's path to Design Director was very interesting to me. Like myself, she also came from a fine art background – before quickly learning how difficult it can be to make a living in the art world, while also wanting to be part of a team. I honestly could have watched her flip through covers and inside layouts for another 40 minutes.
Next, Daniel Gray from ustwo games gave a quite touching presentation on his company's ethos, family-like structure and unusual method of working, while he talked through the process of making Monument Valley 2. Having played both MV1 and 2 and knowing they were beautiful-looking games, I was really looking forward to seeing this talk.
I wasn't disappointed, and was surprised and delighted to hear Gray talk about the mother/child story thread that runs through MV2 – something I hadn't even realised was there. His emphasis on the music means I'm going to have to go back and play it again…with the volume up this time.
My lasting memory of OFFSET 2018 will be Joshua Davis and his Red Bull-fuelled, mad-as-a-box-of-frogs talk about his work in the world of creative coding. Kind of felt like being back in school in a Maths lesson for a minute, except I don't remember any teachers like this and classes weren't scored with a techno beat. He genuinely loves messing about with tech and seeing what the possibilities are. For him, those possibilities ended up being giant Super Bowl concerts with Taylor Swift.
For us? Let's see. Davis's energy is contagious and he gave the team here some extra fuel for thought. Especially to how we can push the boundaries of our own creativity, when it comes to coding and technology, even further.
Aoife Flynn is an Art Director at McCannBlue