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From our Depsters May 21, 2019

Offset Dublin 2019: 8 lessons for a creative life

Offset Dublin

Last month I went to Offset, an annual three-day design conference in the heart of Dublin City showcasing the best of Irish and international design. I joined many ambitious creatives eager to hear inspirational tips and advice from this year’s conference. Speakers included Lance Wyman, a highly regarded American graphic designer best known for creating the iconic identity of the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games. Eike König, a German graphic designer, founder & creative director of Berlin–based creative studio HORT and Bruno Maag, a Swiss designer with a love for typography.

Every year the talks have a lot in common as speakers either discuss their work or creative process but one particular talk stood out to me. Carol Lambert, a creative director from Publicis (one of Ireland’s leading advertising agencies) gave an inspiring talk about the obstacles she has overcome to become a successful creative director. Carol was straight to the point, clear and humorous as she discussed her ‘8 lessons for a creative life’. These lessons are beneficial to all people in the creative industries but in particular junior designers who are fresh to the industry.



Get obsessed with detail

Carol reminisces to when she was a little girl she would obsess over the tiny humorous details in her comic books that the reader would not spot straight away.

Detail is so important in anything you do. It shows you have paid extra attention to your work and clients really appreciate it.  Devil is in the details; small things can save or break a project and its delivery.  What’s more, attention to detail helps you capture the depth and flow so important in design, strengthening its impact on users.

Don’t stop

Carol explains how we all have ‘freeze’ moments’ in our lives where we are stuck in a situation and can’t go back so the only way to move is forward. It happens to everyone, what’s important is to keep going and pushing.  Sometimes we can overcome them on our own, sometimes we need someone to lend a hand. It is also completely fine to ask for help. She explained, ‘it’s ok to doubt yourself and when you do, ask for help, because it can only get better from there.’

Get paid

This tip explains how it is crucial that you get paid for your work. Carol mentions how ‘not everyone can think creatively and that has value so get paid.’

Don’t sell yourself short. You have skills that a lot of people don’t have. Know your rights and get paid for the work you do. Recent graduates can often fall into this trap thinking they will have a great opportunity to enhance their portfolio but realistically they are losing money for their time. So – get paid!

Everything changes (but not the idea)

Carol describes how technology is constantly changing and how important it is to be up to date with it. She talked about how she used Letraset (a sheet of rub-down lettering transfers that were transferred to paper) until the first Apple Mac was created. In 2019 technology has evolved even more and will continue to change in years to come.

From simple apps to top-shelf software, the beauty of technology is that it can elevate your work and make certain processes easier, faster and more time-efficient, leaving more room for creative freedom and experimenting.

You’re not that great (so keep trying to improve)

It is important that you keep challenging yourself, even after success comes your way, and aim even higher next time. Yes, you may think you have you have ‘made it’ but this can make you lazy. Always keep trying hard.

After all, there are new projects, new tools, new challenges to emerge so your success ought to become your driver not a hurdle. Never rest on your laurels.

Surround yourself with people who are better than you

It is important to surround yourself with people who are better than you. This is because it will encourage you to work harder. It will hold you to a higher standard and it will also enable you to learn from them too.

Peer support and engaging with your community is a great way to exchange ideas, share experiences and learn from your fellow creatives’ challenges and mistakes. Their knowledge and insights are priceless; they offer a unique input into your work based on their past projects, successes and bumps they have encountered.

Carol Lambert at Offset Dublin

Be careful what you wish for

Although designers may want to work on bigger projects, achieve more senior positions and receive more responsibility, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are prepared for the workload. In fact, it might not be suitable for them at that time. So it is important to do your research first and have a good think – is this what you want? Are you able for this job? Can you handle the responsibilities? Do your homework and understand the pros and cons of what you hope to do next. It will help you to gear up for it, mentally and skill-wise.

Don’t get comfortable

Don’t get too comfortable as it can work against you in your career growth. It is important to always have a challenge and something to strive for. It is not a bad thing to feel slightly uncomfortable in your job, it means you are pushing yourself and striving to learn new things and challenge yourself. Remember, everything evolves and changes, you need to as well.


Overall this year’s Offset was a success! It was an inspiring weekend. Many creatives left the venue feeling excited, motivated to do new work and ready to tackle their next creative project. It was a great opportunity for us to network, join group discussions and collaborate with others from different design backgrounds in the industry. I am already counting down the days till next year’s conference!

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