April 11, 2017

Off to OFFF

Phew! We’ve just come back from OFFF17 in Barcelona – a 3 day multidisciplinary festival, featuring all kinds of speakers and workshops in design, visual communication and art direction. 

As primarily motion designers we were looking for video / motion design / animation related talks, so our review is based on them mostly, but I’m a huge fan of any design really, so I saw quite a few illustrators and graphic designers too.

It was really well organised, I found something unique and interesting in every talk we saw. We left feeling very inspired, and I have a bunch of new projects to try out.   So, here are a few cool highlights from the fest with some of our favourite videos and designs – in the order that we saw them.

Outro Studio

Outro Studio, a video and design studio based in Barcelona, did the Opening titles and the book for OFFF this year. Their creative approach to projects was really interesting – like making a space themed video for 30 odd euros. For example, They used a bubble gum machine for the helmet, and did it all through reflection, which was a really clever way to reduce cost and give the impression of space – without some crazy huge set. They also had a great concept, which we follow ourselves pretty much, called – SFFPP Small Fast Fun Personal Projects. Now, I need to get hold of a camera, I felt really inspired to do more video work as it’s been very design based lately here! 

Wix

This was really fascinating, because even though Wix are quite famous, they spoke about the troubles finding their brand voice and tone. They started from the early days, showing us the progress and development of their design and videos. It took quite a few projects and experiments to get the tone right for them. Here was a cool little video they made with Shaq, where they finally felt like they had a good base and company voice, which is quite bold in colour but friendly and a bit cheeky. (I think we all know the voiceover too)

Studio Furious

A graphic design and photography studio in Paris, Studio Furious, that came out of a lunch time hobby while at their day jobs. They started making all sorts of weird burgers and photographing them for a personal blog called Fat Furious Burger.  This series is great, it was really fun and inventive! With their studio work now, they describe it as either sober or kitch aesthetic – and I love this contrast in approach.

Atipus

A Barcelona based graphic design company. Good on them for doing the talk in English, while I know some French and Portuguese, I’d be terrified to give a speech in them! What stood out mostly for me was their beautiful wine labels, and I think this is what they’re known for too. The simplicity and bold colours and shapes of all their work, but especially these really resonates with me. This series was based on the good soils from which the grapes grow, which I thought was a great perspective.

Buck

Buck was one of the ones we’d been looking forward to the most coming up to OFFF, and we weren’t disappointed! One of the main projects they focused on was (not surprisingly) Spectacle of The Real for the magician David Blaine.
This is a video we have watched.. a million times! So it was really cool to see the whole back story, working with David Blaine and Christopher Walken. Seeing some of the animatic sketches was amazing too. Truly inspirational  stuff.

Imaginary Forces

Imaginary Forces have been in the industry for over 20 years and the breadth of their work was just incredible – massive variety of videos for some pretty famous films and tv shows! They do a lot of main titles, notably Seven, Boardwalk Empire, and Stranger Things –  all really fantastic works. But I loved this one in particular for Black Sails, the 3D work is so amazing, and I love their research behind the project looking at classical sculture as inspiration.

Cookie Studios

Cookie Studios are a very talented 2D and 3D studio from London – enviable 3D capabilities! They had a great talk which was really client based. They were very focused on understanding client need and rules – and it’s that, not just making, that makes them better designers. As they say, they can take a ‘shit’ subject and make it cool. I loved their alternative to the standard showreel too. 

CLAUS

CLAUS is a studio run by Justin Harder, an illustrator and animator in California. He started out working in a studio, but quit / got fired and moved to Santa Monica living for a few months in his RV… we all have to start somewhere! The variety in his title work was fantastic, we watched a few projects and the styles were so varied and well executed. He’s been famous lately for doing the Deadpool, the Book of Life and Thor title credits (all awesome!) but Thor was my favourite. 

GMUNK

Bradley G Munkowitz – known as Gmunk, does stuff that’s really out of this world. Really, otherworldly was my main feeling. Such a funny guy though, he had the audience laughing so much! It was pretty explicit too, a few shocks!

Over the past few years, he’s done a lot of interesting projects playing with light and lasers, which to look at I would say looks like 3d work or all VFX, but a lot is filmed using lights and shapes, which was fascinating. He’s reinvented his style a few times, which was good to see the progression. My favourite was this Adobe logo, with LED lights built the logo out of acrylic.

Jamhot

One of the few fellow Brits was Jamhot  – a cool graphic  / digital design studio from Glasgow. I loved the honesty in their talk, they spoke pretty truthfully about humble beginnings and wanting to be better all the time, with only their previous work to use a benchmark (like 20 year old me!). They showed a few lovely projects, but I really liked the classical approach of their work for this school.

Calvin Sprague

I was really amazed at how young Calvin was – and how much he’d achieved by the time he was 25. Seriously props to him! He started doing design for music, punk and rock which over time grew to a much wider audience, doing work for Madonna, Beatles and Led Zep.

But it was not what he wanted to do, it was too limited, so he moved to Amsterdam and started doing stuff for himself – I really liked his style, and it was nice to see the progression and how he got there. This design work for Target was really great large scale – the geometry is lovely.

Ricardo Cavolo

So, I’ve been a fan of this Artist, Ricardo (not designer!) for a few years now, I was excited for his talk. He’s definitely more offbeat, which some unusual inspirations. It was pretty fascinating. His work is mostly inspired by early medieval artwork and symbolism. Think about Gods, medieval magic and fairy tales, making a car into a chariot.. that kind of thing. Unlike most of the others I saw, he definitely has 1 particular style – and it’s very strong visually!

Vallée Duhamel

Montreal based duo, Vallée Duhamel, did the main titles for OFFF this year, which was a great finale for me. Their work is generally quite surrealist and they make videos described at High Class Lo Fi. Which basically means they usually real objects and household items to create their videos, which are filmed – but the end result looks in no way homemade.

Watching the behind the scenes for some of their work was incredible to see weird small sets, and throwing things about, a massive contrast to the final polished product. For example in this video for Google, they struggled to get the grapefruit to role straight!

Wooh ok that was a long one! And really quite gushy sorry – but I think the work really speaks for how awesome and diverse it was. I think I’ll be back for more, so… until next time OFFF!

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Email: harry [at] digitalfinch.co.uk
Phone: 0161 818 2120
Location: Wigan, UK

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