This week has been primarily focussed on OFFF Festival in Barcelona. Nic and I decided to use our L&D budget this year to download a dose of inspiration into our brains (vomit) by watching a whole bunch of talented artists, designers, illustrators and filmmakers share their work. It’s only been one day so far, but I’ve already walked away with a few things:

  • Flat design is done. All hail Cinema 4D, Blender and god knows what. I know this isn’t a particular revelatory statement, as flat design was a thing in 2012, but I thought I’d see way  more illustration and traditional graphic design here, but almost every project is either film or 3D work (and folks, can we kill it with the crazy particle effects please). It also makes me realise how far behind the curve I’ve gotten. I am officially getting old. I don’t know what it is about 3D and motion tools, but I have a mild panic attack whenever I open them, and to get anything that feels in any way decent seems to take about 12 hours, and who’s got time for that.
  • Imposter syndrome is a bitch. To satisfy my brain farts, I was trying to draw on my iPad while the talks were happening, and every time the pencil hit the screen I wanted to hurl the entire thing across the room. I don’t know whether it was the talented people on stage, or knowing I was surrounded by lots of other great designers, but it felt like everything I was trying to draw was crap. I couldn’t draw a circle without it turning into a weird egg. I couldn’t draw a face without it just looking wrong. I feel like my technique is just dogshit. I know I can create decent things, but my brain is getting in the way of it. Fuck you, brain.
  • The last talk of day one was a talk from a Swedish agency called Snask, who have most recently done a whole bunch of batshit ads for Klarna. I mean, their work was ridiculously excellent, but their whole ethos made me want to down all my tools and start my own shop. Despite my general hatred of agencies, there’s a few out there that seem to be doing it right. I think it comes down to two types of people – there are the ones who create because they feel it is their right to do it, and they are uniquely talented individuals. That their design, art, words, whatever need to be in the world because nobody else can do it. They overthink, overanalyse and most of their work feels like masturbatory mansplaining. There’s an entitlement and desire for power that it reeks of, and unsurprisingly, it’s most older, white men who fall into this category (but not exclusively). Then there’s the people who create with a bit of a ‘why not’ attitude. They create because it fulfils them, it’s fun, it scratches an itch, and there’s weirdly, despite all that me-centric stuff, way less ego in it. It’s a fine line between douchebag and inspiring, but Snask are firmly in the latter camp and I want to someday strive for that too.

    Although writing a fucking 5-minute manifesto about what is and isn’t douchebaggery in the design space is probably not a great start.