The creative obsession: five things we loved at D&AD Festival

By Nil Thyrion, International Design Manager and Daniel Goy, International Designer, OMD EMEA

As a world renowned showcase of the latest in innovative design, D&AD Festival is the culmination of a year in design, advertising and communications. We were therefore very excited and fortunate to attend the three-day festival discovering amazing work and creative talks that are crucial in making sure we’re at the forefront of creativity and design for our clients.

The D&AD festival is made up of judging sessions during which over 220 creative professionals analyse thousands of designs and ultimately award the best creative work of the year. The designs were judged in various categories such as; outdoor advertising, digital design, branding and book design.

Walking around the venue, the Old Truman Brewery, we were surrounded by the most creative, thought provoking, innovative and beautiful work. However what became most clear was that the creative process remains an obsession in the industry, from new to internationally recognised designers. How do we make ideas come to life, how do we get out of routine, and how do we act with a brief? This therefore was a fascinating event, giving us not just an outlook on the work but at the process behind creative excellence.

So why for designers does nothing matter more than the creative process?

If you weren’t able to make the festival we’ve rounded up our five key highlights.

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  1. The Mood Tree – Digital Experience

Created by Kerve (a company known for their impressive activations) The Mood Tree was one of the most innovative digital experiences at the festival this year. It certainly created a buzz, people of all ages were engaging in the experience, discussing and tweeting to change the tree’s colours.

The Mood Tree enabled live data to be displayed visually, to an audience that were excited to get involved. The process behind creating such a visual experience relied upon how individuals already engage and communicate through social. These platforms are still being explored in their capabilities, and can push the creative process to develop as the way in which they are used does simultaneously.

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The Mood tree that captivated everyones attention

  1. Sir Paul Smith – My creative process

Evolving from a 3×3 metre shop to the design icon he is today, Paul Smith spoke with great humour about his career whilst unveiling his creative process and inspirations.

For him, “You can find inspiration in everything. If you can’t, then you are not looking properly.” What he means is that ideas don’t only come when you are in your office, but during your daily journey to work, throughout the weekend or during your holidays. In a world where many are fishing for the same business, in fashion or marketing, the key to business results is creativity and the ability to surprise and delight people.

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  1. Annie Atkins – Designing For films

Annie decided to work within the movie industry after watching Mary Poppins. Taking us through her amazing design work for film she also spoke about the importance of a strict schedule matching with the shooting, the highly detailed pieces of work, and her relation with Wes Anderson when working on The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Annie’s role is crucial in the success of a film as she needs to beautifully articulate the director’s story whilst using observations and solid research (paperwork, signage, historic posters,…) to make the story accurate and relevant. One of the most touching points in her creative process is that she purposefully includes mistakes (like a random letter spacing) because she realises that mistakes are a part of reality.

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Two pieces of work created by Annie Atkins created for The Grand Budapest Hotel, and The Boxtrolls

  1. Ali Ali – 10 Stupid things I learnt in Advertising

Within every work situation we are presented with a risky or a safe path. Director Ali Ali doesn’t seem to take either, instead he goes with what creatively captures him, which takes him beyond the norm and ensures his idea is not tampered with.

During this talk Ali shared his belief in all he creates, drawing from past experiences and applies this to his films. This belief led him to even say no to a client, one in particular who hated an advert he had created, yet Ali was adamant about keeping it the same and this passion caused the client to reconsider. You can find below examples of where Ali has pushed the limits and created something truly spectacular.

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  Too Silly                           Too Insulting                    Too Informative              Too Complicated

  1. YouTube and the Entertainment Revolution

YouTube’s global Head of Culture and Trends Kevin Alloca took centre stage to present a showreel of YouTubers creating content specifically for the platform.

The platform’s early adopters are now rewarded for creating and sharing their videos, however Kevin was keen to stress on the importance and influence that raw and real life has. Last month’s most successful YouTube channel was the Hydraulic Press, gaining 44,000 subscribers in just one month. Largely due to the increasingly weekly engagement from subscribers providing ideas for future content – commenting on the objects they want to see squashed.

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The creative obsession

To conclude, it is clear that no matter how different, the creative process plays a role within the production of great design, what is imperative is that it remains an obsession by those who use it to create.

The D&AD festival enabled us access to the creative processes behind the most ground-breaking ideas and practices produced by some of the most talented designers in the world. Providing perspectives from various different genres, experiences and backgrounds.

By watching and sharing in their processes, what has become obvious is we must innovate and adapt at the rate of emerging tech and trends, while equally understanding how to push the boundaries and break norms so that our audiences are continually surprised and inspired.

Moving forwards, we are inspired to take these processes into our own day to day work, remembering that it is the key to take someone on an engaging and relative journey with the design we produce. Either way it is likely our processes will continue to be an obsession for much of our creative careers to come.

 

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