OFFSET Dublin 2017 | photo Caroline Mc Nally

A little earlier this year in February, OFFSET entered its eight year on the Dublin creative calendar. Eager Designers, Illustrators, Coders, Artists, Ad creatives, Animators and Photographers alike pushed through the doors of Bord Gáis Energy Theatre for the first of three much anticipated days of talks, panel discussions, “Design Thinking” workshops and a whole lot of inspiration.

No Brow, Unit Editions and Damn Fine Print joined us again in the foyer for all of your book and screen-printing needs and were also accompanied this year by IBM Studios DublinDeloitte Digital and Shopify. You may have also noticed the very cool pop-up shop by Só Collective celebrating of Irish design and creative talent, tempting you with their gorgeous products.

OFFSET Dublin 2017 | photo Brid O Donovan

Só Collective @ OFFSET Dublin 2017 | photo Caroline Mc Nally


We kicked off day one on the main stage with Rod Hunt and he definitely set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Rod is widely known for his highly detailed illustrations, featuring pieces filled with character and outlandish scenes. He spoke at length about how hard it can be for creatives to get their work spotted and stressed it’s one thing to work for little, but never work for free! That undervalues yourself and your field. “Work on your passion and it will set you apart from others” and we couldn’t agree more. Fellow delegate Jonty from Epilson blogged that “The stand out speaker for me though was Rod Hunt. It was interesting to see how he adapted his style to such a diverse range of clients and industries.

Up next some homegrown talent in the form of Lorna Ross, the new Group Director at Fjord Dublin, her speciality is that elusive beast ‘Design Thinking’. Lorna told the crowd that “As a designer, you look at environments; certain rituals and role play that’s preserved”. Lorna has a unique role placing design at the heart of the multi-disciplinary teams working on R&D projects addressing some of the biggest challenges facing society today and she spoke thoughtfully and with insight about the design and innovation process during her wonderful talk.

Rounding out the morning was typesetter, type designer and founder of Dalton Maag, Bruno Maag. His honesty, wit and boldness was refreshing and he didn’t hold back on his thoughts and processes and even more interesting was his exploration into the world of science and typography. Bruno explained the connection between science and design by presenting facts about the human retina and he pointed out that our work is always backed by science, and if we put in the time to learn, then we should always feel confident. FACT!

During the interval we had a Screening “So Far So Goude” a retrospective movie on the work of Jean-Paul Goude, one of the worlds most celebrated creatives. This was followed by an on stage interview with John Walters from Eye Magazine. We were captivated by Goude’s amazing world and the array of clients he has worked with and indeed the longevity of his career to date. John managed to get Jean Paul to delve further into his creativity process and offer us precious insights, his most recent famous piece is Kim Kardashian on the front of Paper Magazine balancing a champagne glass on her bottom and when asked about this he replied “She just wanted to show her big fake butt”. Jean-Paul Goude is a man of passion, creativity and absolute confidence in his craft and we feel very honoured to have had him on the OFFSET stage.

Jean Paul Goude in conversation with John Walters @ OFFSET Dublin 2017 –  photo Caroline Mc Nally

Gavin Little maker of sounds from Echolab blew us away with piece after piece of priceless advice as well as a run through of his impressive career to date. He showed us how much emotion sound can add to an image and explained that by creating his own work and putting out his own promotions he received the work he enjoyed doing. Gavin also offered the crowd one solid piece of advice and that was to never work for free, and suggested that we all should have an email template prepared with an image of knitted socks attached that read, “Fuck you, pay me.” He elaborated that in his opinion we devalue the craft by working for free in exchange for just “exposure”.

Gavin Little @ OFFSET Dublin 2017 –  photo Caroline Mc Nally

The second last speaker of  the opening day was Nils Leonard former creative chairman of Grey London. Conor O Riordan from OLIVER Ireland gave us this review- “Nils offered a really fresh perspective and a plea to change advertising for the better. His list of ‘advertising bullshit’ was scarily familiar to anyone in the industry. He spoke about how people hate the idea of advertising, but they love brands more than ever, so our job is to put brands into popular culture through other means”.

We particularly likes Nils analogy of dealing with a difficult client “Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good you are, the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway”. Lots to learnt from Nils talk.

Nils Leonard @ OFFSET Dublin 2017 –  photo Caroline Mc Nally

And so we come to the last speaker of Day 1 and this where the lovely Kirsten Lepore graces our stage with a very witty and confident presentation of her stop-motion work. The stand out moment of her talk came when Kirsten played her two-and-a-half minute stop motion animation, “Hi Stranger”. Here we are introduced to a naked asexual character, murmuring reassuring words to the viewer while maintaining fixed eye contact. It had the crowd transfixed by its atmospheric weirdness and not surprisingly has gone viral on social media. Check it out!

Kirsten Lepore @ OFFSET Dublin 2017 | photo Brid O Donovan

As the sun set on Bord Gais Energy Theatre, the doors closed behind us. Inside, the venue lay empty, but outside, the delegates were just getting started. This was Day One. Not only was there the endless possibility of two more full days of fun on the schedule, but the Friday feeling wasn’t even over yet thanks to a fantastic night at our exclusive OFFSET party in Tengu. Who needs sleep when you can run on pure creative energy?