Offset Festival Day One Roundup

Graphic Design events are difficult affairs. I find myself uncomfortable at the prospect of sitting through hours of people walking through their entire life portfolio. Sadly, Offset’s first trip to London was no different, but that wasn’t what made it brilliant.

Held at Shoreditch Town Hall, this was my first trip to Old Street in over 4 years and my oh my how things have changed. I know that Shoreditch has been gentrified and occupied and rapidly becoming a popular area of London, I just wasn’t expecting such a diverse and visually striking landscape.

I was welcomed in by the volunteer staff who scanned my code and gave me a wristband, moving onto a desk swamped with Tote bags. These were wonderfully designed and included a latest issue of Pocko┬áTimes, a London based design news paper, wonderfully compiled. I also had my programme, and timetable all designed by Maser, who was also a speak on the day. I also had a limited edition book by Nylon. So swag – good so far.

The talks as expected were around an hour and mainly consisted of people showing every thing they have ever done. This is so disappointing, it felt that the organisers had not helped with structuring the presentations to ensure they were engaging enough for such a long time. It did however mean that a number of people stood out, and my highlight was Johnny Kelly Director at Nexus, who went through things he had learnt in his career and showed insight into the background of how some of his projects were created.

But this all sounds a bit sad right?

We are the youth

Well, not me, or maybe I still am, I don’t know (I’m only in my early 30s). What I loved about Offset is that looking around the room the majority of people looked to me to be from the student population, tickets were certainly aimed at them too with specific low-cost pricing and that – that is how all conferences should be. The people who gain the most are those still with their brains wired to learning and that’s not to say that I don’t think we all do, but conferences of late have become more like academic seminars with people disseminating their way of working as gospel; everyone should follow.

Instead the vibe was, creative, and absorbing, even on a few really duff presentations most of the audience was paying attention politely, something you’d never see looking behind you at the jaded attendees of any given web conference.

Would I go again? No. But I would urge all of you who organise events to focus more on students and less about profit margins.

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Andy Parker

User Experience Designer, headbanger, biker, skater, gamer from Brighton UK.