My visit to OFFF Festival in Barcelona

Published on June 23, 2014

Back in May, I attended OFFF ( a digital culture creative festival) that takes place every year in Barcelona. The festival has been going for more than a decade and I wanted to share with you my experience of this conference.

Firstly, if you have never attended OFFF, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It was really great and truly inspirational. Below I have recapped on some of my favourite speakers from the conference.

Day 1

Here are some pictures of the venue and things going on around there and being sold.

These guys were selling t-shirts with augmented reality which was really fun!


Lorem Ipsum (Atelier)

They did the whole festival’s identity and branding. A real fun crowd showing how much fun they have creating and thinking up their avant-garde concepts. Here are some pictures of the actual posters and their execution. This was a great example of how people get ideas from combining the craziest things, showcasing the concept of ‘Thinking Differently’.

Laurent Paul Robert

I could barely understand what he was saying but the examples he was showing us with 3D effects where incredible! He showcased making videos with before and after scenes with the screen split in half. My favorite was scanning Matt Damon’s face from the Bourne Ultimatum making a 3D model of it and then filling in all the wrinkles to make him look younger.

Laurent has created innovative visual effects for TV advertising, as well as Hollywood films produced by Warner Bros., Universal, 20th Century Fox and Dreamworks, with Double Negative such as The Dark Knight Rises, Harry Potter and Skyfall etc.


This team consists of three very talented animators that showed us an award winning clip that they made whilst at university and everyone couldn’t believe there standard! It’s about a moth being caught in a web (which you can see here).

They ended up forming a company where they have done some formidable work for brands such as Nike and Greenpeace.

Seb Lester

Seb Lester trained in Graphic Design and currently lives in Lewes, England. He began his presentation by informing us about his life and how he worked for a typography company called monotype (he is actually the inventor of many famous fonts for some of the world’s biggest companies). Seb began his talk by talking about his background and how, when creating his 3D visualisations, he would show them to his friends for feedback. They replied by asking him what he was taking!

Instead of being disheartened by his peers feedback, he went on to doodling in his book and started uploading pictures of his caligraphy. People began to  react very well to these and he ended up selling high quality signed prints, printed with a hand-pulled screen press using metallic silver ink on black Plike paper.

The best way to sum up Seb Lesters work is humorous and breathtaking. He is very passionate about letterforms but influences a revival of Calligraphy. He is the definition of a real success story and his  talk was not only inspiring but also very encouraging.

Day 2

Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers is an artist that does all sorts, from figurative painting and installation to illustration and picture-book making. He showed us all sorts of things he has worked on including a stop motion video for U2. He uses mixed media and is recognised for its subtle narrative and use of space in composition. His books are published in many different languages and are loved by many kids around the world! I have to admit I bought a few of his books for myself, couldn’t resist as they were so child like yet grown up.

His art has figurative painting executed on either canvas and mixed media, both found and made. He had a story about one of the pictures in his latest series, Nothing To See Here. He painted a full portrait and then dipped it in ink, but didn’t take photos of the full painting and someone actually questioned him on it.

Second Story, part of SapientNitro

Second Story, part of SapientNitro, is an innovation center pioneering new interactive experiences. Pushing the boundaries of storytelling for brands and institutions across web, mobile and installations. A specific interactive example is where people could go into a botanical garden and actually listen to the plants.


Lobulo is a talented young designer that from a very young age knew what he wanted to do with his life. With over 10 years of working in many design and marketing studios, he went on to doing something he really enjoys and started making things with Paper. Yes ladies and gentleman, everything in the image below is made out of paper then photographed, EVERYTHING!

Day 3

Erik Spiek­er­mann

Erik’s talk was a particular favourite of mine, not just because of what he has done for the design industry, but his dry sense of humour had me in stitches. To give you an insight into this, he opened his talk by declaring that he still wasn’t dead!

However, I don’t want to focus on Erik here, but rather quote things people wrote about him on social media and that will give you a good enough idea of his legend.

– “Erik Spiekermann has an amazing presence, you should have been at his talk”

– “Pitches are totally suck. We don’t do that anymore.” — Erik Spiekermann #Offf14

– “First rule: Don’t work for arseholes. Second rule: Don’t work for arseholes.” —  Erik Spiekermann #offf14

– “We don’t do pitches anymore, we don’t even do paid pitches. Pitches are crap!” — @espiekermann #offf14

– “Our students are talented: got a project? Pay accordingly “Our work adds to your bottom line so invest in our future” @espiekermann #offf14

– “Erik Spiekermann gets grumpier every year. Geez”.

–  “This one’s Helvetia; the one you use when you’re lazy” @espiekermann #offf14

– “Websites are always in beta.” @espiekermann about the never-ending task of making websites. #offf14

– “You’ll be thrilled to know @espiekermann uses #Agile for their design process. Junked #Waterfall ages ago. #offf14

The above gives you a good idea of how inspirational he is. The library on the right in the picture below is Mr Spiekermann’s book lift, who wouldn’t want an invention like that?


 Steve Simpson

Freelance award winning illustrative designer, Steve Simpson works in the areas of packaging design, illustration and art for children’s books. He has regularly had work exhibited in London, LA & New York.

Steve started his presentation by showing us previous work he had done and how he hadn’t established a distinctive style yet. So one day he posted something he really enjoyed doing, just for fun and he got many many positive responses. From this, Steve got commissioned to design a chilli sauce and from there on in, the commissions just kept flowing in. Steve was a great example of when you do things you really like doing for yourself, you will succeed. And have you ever seen such creative barcode designs? He has even written a blog post on what you can do with barcodes, another great inspiration at OFFF.


ManvsMachine is an independent design & motion studio based in London. A multi award winning and multi national team of creative specialists focusing on directing & producing globally acclaimed branding, commercials, animation and film. They showed us some of the astounding work they did for Channel 4 and “Making of Videos”. They even did a live 3D surreal video of the OFFF crowd in the roots hall using the corner wrap effect.

I wish I could have seen all of the talks at this year’s OFFF, or be sent videos of the whole thing so I could watch when in desperate need for inspiration. From what people have told me, I missed many excellent speakers like Chip KiddCasey NeistatDanny Yount and Aaron Becker and also a UK based, Kate Moross, presented a colourful and charming display of her work.

Okay okay, I am making this all out to be hunky dory! So, what were the bad things about OFFF?

Well, long waits in a queue to listen to some of the speakers, no access to the WIFI and bad toilet facilities, and there were too many blokes around! Not enough girls. But seriously, you don’t have to be a designer or animator or anything specifically design related to attend this.

The best thing about OFFF festival is that it is not about people showing off their work and trying to convince you that they are the best, but more about people sharing their experiences.

See you there next year?