Date: 29 March, 2018

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OFFSET 2018. What a weeekend. This year’s lineup was bursting with pioneers of the creative industry, each sharing an insight into their creative processes and professional successes.


Our team went along to soak up the atmosphere, collecting endless nuggets of wisdom. Here are just some of our highlights:

Piers Scott, Lead UX Designer

For the heart – Inclusion and collaboration were the big themes for me. Naomi Murphy & Aaron Copeland from A Playful City asked us to consider who’s ‘banned by default’ – communities that are designed out of physical and digital spaces, and how they can be brought back into the design process.

ustwo games‘ review of their process for creating Monument Valley 2 showed how you can bring communities that are normally excluded from the design process into it, and make something beautiful and unique (and a commercial success).

For the head – Hub Games‘ Anita Murphy and Rory O’Connor, and Design Partners‘ Brian Stephens’ talks on their companies’ growth and the challenges they overcame were outstanding.

Lisa O’Hanlon, Copywriter

A surprise highlight for me was Daniel Gray, from ustwo games. Occupying the bleary-eyed Sunday morning spot, it’s also one that a few people may have missed…

Gray described the process of creating their latest mobile game, Monument Valley 2. The intention, he said, was to create something you could freeze at any point, print and it would feel like a piece of art. Mission accomplished. A beautifully designed game with a lot of heart.

For his team, originality came from looking far outside the gaming industry, with Drag Queens and Nicki Minaj just two of their sources of inspiration. Good advice for any creative.

John Mc Mahon, Creative Director

Richard Brim, Adam & Eve

Richard Brim’s talk was charmingly ramshackle in style but needle sharp in focus. I took away two lessons: one was ‘Embrace WTF? ideas’. As in, if it makes you go ‘WTF?’ initially, always see where it goes (‘Compare the Meerkat‘ being a great example). The other: ‘Never be afraid to say something stupid’. Should suit me down to the ground, that one…

Chris Ware, Cartoonist

Having read Chris Ware’s devastatingly sad Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid On Earth, I wasn’t prepared for how funny the man himself turned out to be. And self-deprecating to an almost embarrassing degree. The ground would have felt bad for swallowing him up. (And then Chris would have apologised some more.)

Gail Bichler, NY Times Magazine

Gail Bichler raced through what felt like hundreds of incredible covers for the NY Times Magazine. I wanted to scream ‘SLOW DOWWWWWN, GAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIL’ But I s’pose dat’s just deh pace a tings in deh Big Epple, hah?

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Eadaoin Coyle, Social Media and Marketing Coordinator – Simone Rocha

“A potent mix of pretty and perverse”.

British Vogue’s interpretation is a fitting description for the work of the supremely talented Simone Rocha. Spanning from her debut at London Fashion Week in 2010, and countless sartorial wins along the way, her impressive journey offered an insightful look into her design process and the tough labour of creativity.

Rocha’s experimental use of fabrics contrasts the traditional with the unexpected; romantic whimsical tulle and crochet juxtaposed with Perspex – a nod to her signature tomboy-feminine aesthetic. A series of imagery and beautifully shot short films delved into the inspirations behind each collection; from a love letter to her Chinese heritage to the mossy green window installation at London’s Dover Street Market, inspired by unruly teenage years hanging out in the laneway behind her family home in Ranelagh. Or the lookbook shot on a farm in Africa, contrasted with insets of black and white documentary photos on a farm in Ireland. A true testament to the magic that arises from seeking out the unexpected.

Andre Maia, Creative

Gail Bichler – The NY Times Magazine

It’s amazing how her team combine great articles with an incredible design for The NY Times Magazine and how they create each cover, pushing the creativity beyond. Every page has a special creative treatment. It makes me want to read it every week.

David Bowen, Senior Art Director – Studio Frith

My favourite thing about OFFSET is the surprises.

Frith Kerr occupies the world of high fashion and culture, eh, unlike me. However, there were universal lessons to learn from the approach to her work.

Frith sees herself as a ‘detective’. Researching fervently or ‘collecting stories’. To her practice ‘truth is stranger than fiction’. Frith encourages us to ‘Goggle not Google’. To get out from behind the desk to find inspiration.

Among the myriad examples of this was Chisenhale Gallery. Frith discovered it was, at one point, a veneer factory and so the ‘inevitable solution’ of an identity revolving around those patterns was arrived at. As Frith eloquently put it ‘Find me a truth and I’ll give you an idea.’

Andy Williams – Account Manager, Guns or Knives

I loved Chris Ware’s quote about never really being happy with his work until he maybe sees it in a few months and thinks, yeah, that was ok. “It doesn’t need to be good, it just needs to be perfect.”

Cristaine Schmidt – Multimedia Producer Dan Gray – ustwo games

What really caught my attention was the Daniel Gray talk – the producer of the Monument Valley game and Head of Studio at ustwo games. He presented how they approach things in a completely different way to normal games developers. It’s interesting that they look to anywhere but video games to inspire their work.

Their ‘Monument Valley’ game drew inspiration from many artists, films and art, most notably the artist M. C. Escher. And it is also interesting that they have a diverse team, that came from in and outside the games industry, which makes the process even more creative.

Bronagh O’Donovan, Strategy/Planning – Joan Bergin, Costume Designer

“Don’t push your luck!” – Christopher Nolan to Bergin on the set of the Prestige.

I’m not sure if anyone else could have delivered this talk and not been accused of major name-dropping, but rather applauded for giving such genuine insight into the movie industry.

The quote above came when Bergin made one too many requests for Bowie’s outfit on the set of The Prestige and although Nolan gave her a bit of a telling off, she seemed to laugh it off and deliver the anecdote in only a way Joan Bergin, an Emmy winning designer from Dublin, telling a story about David Bowie and Christopher Nolan on the set of an Oscar-nominated movie could.

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