The most creative 3 days in Dublin’s diary passed last weekend as OFFSET 2014 returned to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. 24 speakers including designers, artists and photographers took to three stages for an entire weekend of inspiration. Here’s a few our highlights and emerging themes from a great weekend of talks from international and local talent in the industry. 


Free Thinking in Design 


Genevieve Gauckler and Jon Burgerman brought their own brand of illustration and design to OFFSET and their working methods crossed paths on several ideas. Both Genevieve and Jon talked about the merits of throwing everything at the idea's process of their work regardless of the restrictions on the outcome.


It's this free thinking method that leads to the most unique and unexpected ideas and makes happy accidents a much more common occurrence. Genevieve preached the idea of just doing, creating and starting complicated and working back. Jon Burgerman spoke of getting untethered and took sport as an analogy for how he works, stating "you set the rules out for the game then you try everything you can think of to win". He also stated how not really knowing what you’re doing is okay, creative freedom can often come from low expectations. Jon Burgerman's steps to becoming a better designer are;


1. Take work into the world
2. Share the work
3. Use whatever medium is necassary
4. Learn to spell necessary

Jon Burgerman


Embrace Failure

Graphic Designer Neville Brody shared his work with the OFFSET audience on Saturday afternoon, taking us from his early eighties vinyl album covers to his more recent rebranding of the BBC’s online offering. The designer’s desire for embracing failure and playing with form and structure is evident throughout his career. Brody’s talk centered on the future of design, the need to take risks and create meaningful work.

What I love about digital is… you can revisit, rework and re-move any piece of data, it’s not fixed.

Neville Brody

Brody has a fascination with how digital is influencing our physical space and how mass media now means we have to be so simple with our messages. He also added, “our translation can change the world”. What stood out from his talk was his belief in challenging the state of things and exploring the tribal nature of design. (Image via Designers Journal)


Find Your Voice 

Anyone who attended Jeff Greenspan’s talk on Sunday evening left with one very clear message; “Find your own authentic voice and speak with it very loudly” Digital Content Creator – Jeff Greenspan has worked with some of the world’s most high profile companies including Facebook and Buzzfeed, however throughout his talk Greenspan emphasized the importance of his side projects, which made up his entire presentation. His passion for these side projects and pride he took in creating and collaborating with others is clear, however, Greenspan is aware that he owes a lot to his 17 years working in advertising, which he explained; “teaches you to be visual, arresting and surprising”. (Image via



Play is Key to the Creative Process

Berlin-based 3D illustrator Sarah Illinberger takes a very honest approach to her work. Her commercial and independent studio work with large and small-scale paper, light and everyday found objects demonstrate the mind of someone who can find inspiration anywhere. Her attitude toward her work is refreshingly uncompromising. She says with a sincere conviction that creative work should be about 99% play. "Play is the most important part of the creative process", she declares as a short film plays behind her. 

In her opinion, it is the challenges and limitations to a project that give its unique identity. "Spending a big budget doesn't make a good project. You lose the human aspect and it can become too polished." She and her work represent the best of today's attitude toward creative. As Tom Hingston later echoed, the challenge is striking the line between art and commerce. As today's creatives struggle with increasingly short deadlines and smaller budgets, this is an important mantra and professional challenge. When creatives learn to embrace the challenges in every brief, every short deadline, and every client asking for something amazing in half the time, this can be an opportunity to create something both simple and powerful.


Creativity Is Born Out Of Demands


Mark Waites tackled the tricky topic of the relationship between creatives and the restrictions they are forced to deal with, as he closed the first day of OFFSET. But rather than bemoan restrictions as the enemy, he suggested they might be among our greatest allies, spurring many of us to do our best work.


What he offered in his talk is a refreshing perspective on what many creatives feel confine their imaginative scope: he proposed restrictions result in better work. It’s the limitations that provoke the richest creativity according to Waites, as he reminded us that advertising is an art where “creativity is born out of demands”. Restrictions shouldn’t stifle great thinking; perversely they should spur it on.


How you deal with restrictions is what defines the end products success. The unconvincing model of the great white constructed for the filming of the original ‘Jaws’ movie is a case in point. Speilberg faced a dilemma; the shark looked as terrifying as a lili in the water. This forced his hand and he chose to imply the presence of the shark throughout the film, thus generating a far more terrifying experience for the audience as their imaginations created a much more fearful creature. The restriction resulted in a more effective outcome.



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