Why creative collaboration changes the world at OFFF

BARCELONA – After last year’s sweet sixteen party, OFFF Festival returned to Museu del Disseny de Barcelona for edition número 17. A global gathering came together to enjoy the hottest design trends and soak up some good old Spanish sunshine at the same time.

I’ve been to a lot of festivals but one of the things that I enjoyed the most at OFFF were the people. It didn’t matter if you were a developer, graphic designer, professional, student or entrepreneur. Everyone was one. Everyone shared a passion for curiosity. At most festivals people constantly stare at their screens and Tweet every sentence they hear. At OFFF, people were truly taken away by the storytellers on stage. Maybe that was a hidden message in the name of the festival, people switch ‘OFFF’?

Before I dive into some of the sessions I visited, let’s have a look at the other parts of the festival. There was a small market area where both local and international artists sell and showcase their work. From sitting in a VR Rollercoaster with a vibrating chair and wind machine to learning more about the true craft of wood design; the market was a great opportunity to get to know the brains behind innovative work and get inspired by true passion.

Adobe was also there during the entire festival with a Live Broadcast & Portfolio reviews via Adobe Twitch. Digital artist Bram Vanhaeren hosted a live Photoshop Masterclass with Rufus Deuchler (Worldwide Design Evangelist Adobe). Bram shared his portfolio, workflow and inspiration of how he creates his amazing Photoshop illustrations. Besides that, they also gave some valuable feedback on portfolios of creatives. Last but not least, Bram decided to give away some original pieces of artwork, with his autograph on it. And that…escalated quickly.

Highlights OFFF
OFFF 2016 opened up with some amazing titles. It was a collaboration between different students from Atelier; an independent design school based in Barcelona. The whole crew entered the stage and that already visualised their passion for the process. They shared how they came up with the insight (“There’s something wrong with you and everyone else”) and eventually execution to make this epic identity and branding happen. It was clearly a process of long days, long nights and pushing yourself (and each other) to reach higher goals. Leader of the pack was director Aimée Duchamp but it would have never happened without the impressive team spirit of Atelier.

OFFF Barcelona 2016 Open Titles by Atelier from OFFF, let’s feed the future on Vimeo.

We’ve all experienced success and failure. But have you ever experienced ‘succaillure’? Digital product studio Ustwo came up with this new word.

“Succailure is doing a lot of weird things and making lots of mistakes to eventually be successful”.

A solid piece of advice, since Ustwo has quite some proof of concept. After creating a lot of different games and projects that failed, they managed to create Apple iPad’s Game of the Year ‘Monument Valley’. They’ve sold over 2 million copies of the game. Personally I was more impressed by the fact that Netflix asked them if Frank Underwood could play their game in a House of Cards episode. Normally brands pay a fortune for that. Plus, now they can say that the President played their game (#lifegoals).

My favourite talk was by Sid Lee. The agency with 550 professionals working globally from offices in Montreal, Toronto, New York, Paris, Amsterdam and LA creates amazing work for their clients. But in this presentation they emphasised on the importance of ‘passion projects’.

“What a group does with its billable time determines its income for a year. What it does with its non-billable time determines its future.”

One of the great things that I truly admire about Sid Lee is that they actually pay their people to do passion projects. A passion project is not a hobby. It means you go all the way to reach your goal, in the evening and or weekends. It inspires you to think freely and at the same time it does something for the awareness and likability of Sid Lee as a company and brand.

Starting a passion project at Sid Lee is easy. You have to submit your idea to your manager. They will pick the best one and then help to make it happen. Like the story of their intern who made it to Huffington Post and global news with his Kim Kardashian at the museum project. Not bad for a little ‘side project’ ey?!

It’s all about your crew
Nothing truly great comes easy. You have to make a lot of hours and deal with many failures. That becomes way easier if you’re not alone. Plus, it’s more fun! It seems that the best projects come to life when hard-working people join the party. My key take-out of the festival was that creative collaboration is the way to really make a change in the world. Weather it’s a small side-project or a global campaign; if you have an awesome crew you’re gonna create awesome work.

Adobe invited a group of creatives from 10 different countries to report from the festival. This mix of like-minded people worked really well together. All are following their passion to create. Besides learning from the festival, I learned most from hanging out with our ‘crew’. It felt a bit like the team at Atelier and Sid Lee. There is no judgement, only respect for each other and you’re having meaningful conversations to level up your game. Okay, and a few sangrias to spark the conversation.

I would like to thank Adobe and our crew for making OFFF 2016 awesome.

Hasta luego and see you next year!

Mark van der Heijden