Daniel Bruce on OFFF 2015: Sometimes design is just visual design and I’m happy about it

This is what OFFF is to me. Inspiration, ‘wow factor’, kicks and short feelings of joy.

**Daniel Bruce is a Swedish influential multidisciplinary creative working as Head of Design at a digital startup in Stockholm. He attended OFFF 2015 and here are his impressions from **the creative festival in Barcelona. Photo by Daniel Bruce.****

As a creative working with digital service and product design, I hear people almost every day quoting Steve Jobs’ saying: “It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” The term ‘Dribbblisation’ is a reality. Sure, it’s not that strange. We rarely add or design something without a clear purpose and goal and that purpose and goal is very seldom just “to look great”. But to be honest, sometimes you just wan’t to see visually stunning design and not care about business goal or user needs. You want to be inspired.

This is what OFFF is to me. Inspiration, ‘wow factor’, kicks and short feelings of joy. My initial idea was to write something about the lack of discussions about the purpose and deeper thought behind the solutions presented to me, but then I changed my mind. Even if no one is watching TV ads anymore. Or buying fancy glossy magazines with beautiful two page spreads ads… or visiting expensive flash-animated websites not based at user needs. There is still a place for visually stunning productions with no higher meaning then to make me feel good for a second.

The beautiful ceiling of the venue where OFFF 2015 was held represents the festival at its best.

Another thing that is clear is that, when presenting your work to an audience of 3,000, an animated short story and a fast paced presentation will work much better than talking about the kerning of a typeface for 20 days. Or even worse. A/B testing a call-to-action button. With this said, there is no point in me going into a review of every single keynote or listing all the great designers that presented their work at OFFF 2015. You can find that information elsewhere. What is interesting — to me anyway — it’s what my lasting memory of the experience is.

So if I would dare to summarise my experience of the keynotes in two words, I would say ‘Relief’ and ‘Hans Zimmer’. Relief because it was a relief to enjoy visuals based just on what I saw and nothing else. Hans Zimmer – yes, that Hans Zimmer – because apparently the sound of motion design at OFFF was all around electronic music with a lot of bass. A mix of the Inception soundtrack and popular techno.

Beyond the scheduled keynotes, OFFF is a fantastic place to meet up with other creatives. If you ask me, meeting, chatting and having a beer with new acquaintances from all over Europe is even more rewarding and inspiring than the keynotes themselves. So if you plan to go there next year, make sure you don’t just talk with your traveling companion. If not you will miss out on a big part of visiting this festival.


About Daniel Bruce

Daniel Bruce’s monogram

Daniel Bruce is the Head of Design at Natural Cycles. Former Art Director and Graphic Designer now working in UX leadership. 18 years experience from working with digital service design, concept development, business driven user experience for large domestic and international clients and creative leadership.

Follow Daniel on Twitter: @danielbruce_