Offset 2018 – 5 reasons to attend a design conference

In 2009 Dublin opened it’s doors to a new and exciting conference for design creatives. Starting out in the Liberty Hall, with 411 seats to fill, the Offset festival has significantly grown. The conference now takes over the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre for one weekend every year. Filling around 2,500 seats, two stages, workshops and activities, making Offset one of the world’s most inspirational, educational and vocational conferences for the design and creative industries. A weekend we would suggest – not to be missed. 

Each year the studio makes the best efforts to get down to the festival. This year was no exception. Here is why we find Offset to be such a beneficial part of a designers calendar.

1. To Learn

In the design industry, we believe that we are learning every day. This is true. However, to hear from the leading creatives in the industry, you are likely to learn a little more than the average day at the studio. From the first talk of the weekend, we are gathering information and not always from the particular field that we work in. We can learn from the thought processes of any creative, illustrators, fashion designers or even photographers. Offset provides a range of workshops, this year they were run by Facebook’s Creative Shop. Workshops are run at a much smaller scale and provide a more personal learning experience. We attended a workshop ‘Create Fast’. Showing how the industry leaders advertise and how anyone can apply their techniques to a scale that suits best. 

2. To get the Inspirational Hit

The weekend at Offset flies in every year, but what is evident is the boost and lift you feel after the conference. It could be down to a range of things. The dance moves thrown at the delegate party, the work shown on anything other than a Pinterest board or maybe the array of talent displayed by creatives. Designers that started off just like us. The conference is a constant reminder with every talk that ordinary talented people are creating the work we look up to and aspire to. A lot of the talks, give us a personal insight into the speaker’s journey taken, to where they are now. Then the background to some of their projects, reviewing what they have learned along the way. Adam Brimm from Adam & Eve/ DDB highlighted that the smallest and most random of ideas can turn into some of the most effective advertisements. Then, on the other hand, Frith Kerr discussed how all of her projects stem from one Truth, every project develops from one simple truth. Both small tips that can go a long way and can be forgotten or overlooked in our usual routine. 

3. To be Surrounded by Your People

Offset has grown a lot over the years, it still fascinates us just how many creatives we are surrounded by at the conference, speakers and audience members. The conference is a friendly reminder and celebration of the size of the creative industry. There is something to be said about a 2,500 person group of people that can empathise exactly with you. After a stressful or successful week in the studio, there will be at least one speaker that you can identify with from your own experiences. This year Irish design studio Red Dog discussed their 25 years in business, their ups and downs, many of which we could feel exactly, and provided us all with a good laugh along the way. 

4. To Treat Yourself

Maybe not the most important reason to attend a conference, but let’s not forget the goodies. The drinks, the food, the prints. What’s even better at offset all the treats and freebies look great.

5. To Appreciate the Industry

65% of Offset attendees are professionals working in the industry. Like many others, our studio is a happy, creative and very busy one. As creatives, we can often forget to appreciate what we do, forget to enjoy our work and appreciate that we are getting paid to do what we love. Taking a break from the computer screen, the meeting room, the studio and getting out of town to celebrate the industry and the people we work with is exactly what we would recommend. Hearing everyone’s stories and remembering your own, catching up with friends at one of the after parties and meeting people with jobs you would never have imagined helps remind us to appreciate this exciting industry we are in.

Whether it be Offset, or any other design festival or conference, we would suggest making the effort to attend. We are back to the studio with a spring in our step, a drive to do more and lots of prints that will need framing.