A few members of our team recently headed to sunny Barcelona for this year’s OFFF Festival. They caught up with old friends in the industry, made some new ones and generally felt part of a fantastic global community. Full of inspiration and with a bit of a tan, they returned and shared their trip highlights with the rest of us…
Google’s 20% time has been trotted out umpteen times over the years, as the prime example of how letting employees take time to pursue personal projects can greatly benefit organisations as a whole. For those who work in the creative industries, the realities of expending potentially billable time on work driven by passion can be challenging to justify… yet that’s precisely what a few speakers wholeheartedly encouraged in their firms and to their audience.
Sid Lee, Digital Kitchen and Spin particularly impressed our team with their showcase of passion projects, including the twitter-powered piano ‘Stanley’, a location-activated soundtrack for the Williamsburg Bridge and the Unit Editions series of books on graphic design and visual culture. In Sid Lee’s case, employees are allocated a certain number of hours each week for their project, on the agreement that it’ll be completed within 3 months.
A final reenforcement of the success that can be gleaned from pursuing your passions was crystal clear in the work of husband-and-wife band Lullatone and Jono Brandel. Their Patatap app allows you to create polyphonic audio and visual by simply tapping your phone. It was a collaborative labour of love with no intended financial rewards, yet it proved its worth in both PR value and as a tangible output of imagination and talent.
To steal a quote from David Maister,’What a group does with its billable time determines its income for the year.
What it does with its non billable time determines its future.’
Many briefs outline a desire to really ‘cut-through’ and be ‘disruptive’, but the reality of what’s needed to achieve that can be in stark contrast to the enthusiasm (or ability, in the case of some large brands) to walk the unbeaten path. It’s much easier said than done, but Kjell Ekhorn and Jon Forss – better known as Non-Format – presented a range of work to show how they push their clients one step further than they’re comfortable, and then work back from more abstract forms to deliver work that’s still captivating and boundary-pushing. They also regularly re-use work and demonstrated how something that’s not right for one client, may well hit the bulls-eye for another.
At the other end of the spectrum was Mr. Bingo, who cast aside any sense of propriety and delighted a crowd of 3,000 people in the process. Littered with profanities, his presentation drove home the importance of straight-talk, a light-heart, and being unafraid of looking ridiculous in the pursuit of doing something you really care about.
Digital Kitchen – ‘if you’re not taking any risks, you’re not doing anything new’
Ever-dwindling attention spans and short-form content don’t need to impact the level of quality and craft, as ably shown by the talents from Golden Wolf – a sister company to the design studio I Love Dust.
Their team have really embraced short-form content and apply the same principles for making something for Instagram to their more commercial work. They cram interest into tiny pockets of bite-size content with a mind-blowing level of detail in each frame.
Attention, no matter how small the amount, should be grabbed with both hands.
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