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From our Depsters May 02, 2019

Take your mind OFFF and get creative


Last weekend was a weekend full of visual delight for our eyes and ears. Together with a group of designers, we went to the OFFF Festival in Barcelona, where we had three days of interesting talks and workshops. From speakers like Man vs. Machine to TSTO and from B-Reel to Magoz. Every speaker had his own interesting story, but there were a few things a lot of them had in common.

All speakers had their own way of working and their own creative process which contributes to their success. Below are the six most important tips and insights we got from them.

Draw directionless

Amber Vittoria, a New York based illustrator, draws a lot. On her own, but also with a friend or in a group to get inspired by others. Why? Because drawing clears her mind. You don’t have to think about anything when you draw. You can even draw directionless.

Directionless drawing can bring about new insights and ideas. But also mistakes or even horrible creations. Don’t be afraid to create horrible stuff. According to Dropbox, mistakes can lead to magic. Things and ideas you didn’t have in mind before you started creating, will come out.

Take the risk

The above drawing example is a perfect metaphor for our life. Are you shy but love to be on stage? Did you study something completely different than what you want to do now? Don’t be afraid. Or like Marina Esmaraldo tells us: ‘just follow your gut and take the risk’. She shifted careers and went from being an architect to an illustrator. A risk, but as Marina said: ‘nothing is really lost.’ Marina still uses techniques and skills she developed during her architectural study.

Frankly, the people who are willing to push themselves out of their comfort zones are the ones who turn out to be the most creative, like design director David Mikula stated. So dare to take the risk and push yourself out of your comfort zone as risk can lead to reward.

Keep learning.

“It’s never too late to learn.”

Xavi Cardona from Boldtron

Experiment and play

Never stop experimenting and playing. By doing so David Mikula came up with a self playing interactive piano called Stanley which gets song requests via Twitter. A year later, the piano received a role in the series “Westworld” and it continues to get requests to this day.

But also Man vs. Machine told us to experiment and play. They’re producing content for clients like Nike and Squarespace. Visual exploration without the pressure of starting to produce is important. Although not everything they create will see the daylight, it all feeds their creative process. To give a podium to the explorations ‘in the dark’, they launched Play, where they uploaded all of their ideas, sketches and experiments.

Show your ideals

Creating visuals without a particular client or goal is a nice way to expand your portfolio, inspire yourself and to learn new tools. However, one of the most important aspects while creating is to keep your style, interests and ideals in mind.

Embrace your own style.

“We’re trying to avoid any kind of inspiration because we don’t want to lose our style.”

Tania Shcheglova from Synchrodogs

In our work, we have the possibility to make our ideals visible through our designs and make a statement. Although not every artist or designer makes use of this influence, Edel Rodriquez does. He’s making his, mostly political, view on the world and ideals clear to the public with his work for Time Magazine and Der Spiegel.

Tell a story

While Edel is expressing his ideals and statements through his graphics, digital designers tell stories through entire flows or page scrolls. Define the story that you want to tell and keep in mind that every detail in your design contributes to this story. From a little micro animation to the copy of a success screen.

Creative production agency Rewind does this in a very controlled but positive manner. In their VR Experience: Curfew: Join the race, fans of the Curfew TV show could step inside the production and get closer to the race. From the stickers on the car’s dashboard to the tough jackets the actors are wearing. Every little detail is extremely well thought out. Although some aspects they created will never be noticed by most, everything they design contributes to their story they want to tell.

Enjoy the process

From a singing piano to a racing game in VR, each of these projects have their own creative processes. Just like we as creatives. The more we step outside of our comfort zone and try new things the better we will become. Good chance that you will make some mistakes along the way but by doing so you’ll learn. So don’t forget to enjoy the process.

Thus, if you ever feel stuck or don’t know what to do: keep these tips in mind. Draw directionless drawings and create weird stuff. Shift your job if your gut feeling tells you so. Explore new ideas and techniques without the pressure of a commercial project. Don’t take life too seriously and keep playing and experimenting. Just do it.

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