The Blue Stag team set off to Dublin's incredible Offset Festival this April - and we've rounded up some highlights for you! We'd recommend getting there for 2020's edition if you can, but for now, here's the next best thing.
Nathan's pick: Eike König
"Be brave, stay curious, do good work" .
This talk was a reminder to keep considering the ethical impact of the work we do, and I liked how Eike had written a manifesto to keep himself on-track. This manifesto placed emphasis on ensuring that Eike works on meaningful projects, enjoys the work he does and has fun at the same time. Lastly, Eike advised "don't work 'for' people: work 'with' people" in order to create meaningful and long-lasting relationships. We sometimes forget that design is about people and communication so we should try to spend more time with people than sat at a computer.
Kirsty's pick: Ailbhe Keane from Izzy Wheels
"If you can't stand up, stand out!"
The most inspiring talk for me was Ailbhe from Izzy Wheels. Ailbhe’s idea started as a college project to design and customise wheel covers for wheelchair users and after Izzy Wheels' designs went viral, they found themselves in-demand and collaborating with various artists to create amazing designs for wheelchairs. Izzy Wheels are literally changing people’s lives through design: one amazing example she showed was how she designed wheels for a bride to match her wedding dress which I thought was brilliant!
Ailbhe had the biggest personality and she oozed positivity. Their tagline is fantastic too: ‘IF YOU CAN’T STAND UP, STAND OUT’!
Rhi's pick: Victo Ngai
"Make the limitations an asset."
Victo talked on how, if a brief is restrictive, you can take advantage of those restrictions and use them to your advantage. It's not a question of getting fun briefs and projects, but instead how to make projects or briefs fun - it's up to you to make it an interesting enjoyable project, which is an idea I found inspiring. His work speaks for itself too!
Amy's picks: Edel Rodriguez and James Victore’s Q&A session
"You can't escape an image."
Edel Rodriguez is a political illustrator and some of his most famous pieces depict Donald Trump. He has a lovely unapologetic stance about his work and uses his work to fight for what he believes in. His work is graphic and honest and I love that: he’s not afraid about offending/upsetting people because you’re always going to upset someone so he just does his work his way.
James Victore did a Q&A and a lot of what he said resonated with me about pushing my work more and about re-writing briefs to get a better solution for a client. I bought his book which he wrote to inspire people, optimise creativity and to encourage people to try harder to create their best selves.
Dan's pick: Edel Rodriguez
"I make images that can be understood by someone with a PhD degree as well as someone like my grandfather who does not speak English."
Edel's work is incredible, earning him the mantle of ‘The preeminent illustrator of the Trump era’. I loved hearing his story of growing up in Cuba and coming over to Miami in the 1980s to flee the violence and I felt this tale was both a humbling and exciting one. It was also fascinating to learn that Cuban movie posters from the '80s influenced his work!
I admire how Edel uses his skill as an illustrator to create brilliant, precise, indelible moments of social commentary.
A brief pick from Joe:
I was a big fan of Jon McNaught, mainly because his illustrations are insane and I want to put 9823482 of them on my walls.