I was recently lucky enough to attend the first ever Offset conference held in London, ticket courtesy of Computer Arts. With two days full of talks from speakers who are essentially my perfect dinner party list, I decided to settle in and not miss anything!
I can truthfully say I learned a lot from each 45 minute talk! The highlights for me were seeing McBess, whose work I have loved since I discovered it a good six years ago, and chatting with Johnny Kelly (the nicest guy you could meet) about his reasons for taking certain types of projects, and getting great advice on picking up animation as a new skill. It’s also made me think a lot about my own approach to work and “tone of voice”. Erik Kessels gave a phenomenally funny presentation in which he described the various ways KesselsKramer have pissed people off, and had loads of fun and great results doing it.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum was the gorgeous work from Johnny Kelly, who certainly sparks emotion with his work, but through the sensitive nature and beautiful craftsmanship of his animations. A run-through of the production of Back To The Start for Chipotle shows the near obsessive attention to detail that I really admire and aim for.
Chris Gallery from Mother London also raised some fantastic points about “giving a shit”, and how important it is to really care about what you are doing. Then of course there are Seb Lester and McBess who just do what they love with beautiful craftsmanship and skill. An overarching theme has seemed to be designing with a conscience, from Morag Myserscough doing great work with schools, to Pony fighting for gay rights.
I feel like my attitude is a mix of all these; at one end I want my work to be funny and not too serious, but I’m also concerned about making a positive impact on society. I also like doing things that make me happy and perhaps other people won’t like them, but am concerned with quality and want to put a lot of effort into my projects and make them beautiful. Being able to talk with some of the speakers later really gave me an insight into their relationship with their work, and made me think about what I want mine to be.
Aside from the talks, the whole conference was a great experience. I got to chat with lots of people in the breaks and at the after-parties, and learned all about how people work in various universities, in-house teams, design studios, publishing houses etc. Everyone (attendee or speaker) was so open and happy to talk; looking forward to next year!