Uniform gives an inside view of Offset 2013

I’ll start by being totally honest. I didn’t see every speaker at Offset in Dublin’s beautiful Bord Gais Theatre on the front of the Grand Canal Dock – neither the brain nor the buttocks could sustain eight hours of lectures and presentations.

But I did see some amazing speakers who left me hugely motivated. Individuality was the word. No one speaker was alike. No one presentation the same. But there were common threads woven through the eclectic mix of topics, work and presentations; simplicity, mash-ups and hacking as well as collaborations – and always with an opinion. These are my highlights.

Neil Sheakey, designer, Uniform
Neil Sheakey, designer, Uniform

Jonathon McHugh, illustrator

To possess great talent and still remain so humble is such an endearing quality and McHugh possesses bucket loads of both. His illustrative style for major editorial bodies is both beautifully executed and beautifully conceived. His attention to detail, graphical style and the suitable, conceptual wit within his work is incredibly refreshing, leaving you hugely satisfied and hugely envious.


Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin
Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin

Iain Tait, executive creative director at Google Creative Lab

When Iain finally finishes a presentation, you might as well have gotten up and moved two rows down and ten seats across. His brilliant energy and presence on stage physically moves you through his view of the world, which took the kid with the Spectrum ZX, to a world-leading brand innovation lab. Charismatic and one-step ahead, Iain’s outlook on the digital landscape and how the simple notion of taking what is there and improving upon it to create something better, will leave you appreciating a Dyson Airblade a whole lot more. Keep an eye out for ‘Attention engineers v Experience Engineers’ in his future talks.

Auditorium, Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin
Auditorium, Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin


Jin Lee,creative strategist at Facebook

I first encountered Jin Lee in a review of his recent book Word as Image on a lo-fi design blog. His personal manifesto, to work for fun and not for money, really strikes home and his idea for turning corporate monologue into public dialogue is a notion all brands should pay particular attention to in a frenetic global market place. His Bubble project is brilliantly funny, but his Parallel Worlds Installations in the Museum of Arts and Design in New York was a personal favourite


Oliver Jeffers, illustrator

There is a reason that Oliver Jeffers writes and illustrates books. Within two minutes of his talk all the confirmation you could need is reinforced. His wonderful view of the world and how he approaches it through his stories, illustrations and paintings reminds me that there is no order to creativity, it can be spontaneous, ideas can arrive from anywhere and at the heart of it, it can always be fun and enjoyable. It’s why we get into this industry in the first place. Jeffers is a fantastic storyteller, both in person and in his work.


Kate Moross

Kate Moross, graphic designer and illustrator

Moross is a tour-de-force. Less animated than some of the other presenters, she certainly made up for it in ambition, drive and desire to develop ideas, turning them in to visual rollercoasters to leave you thrilled and wanting more. With a superb sense of individuality and expression, her creative tenacity fires through her work and I can only imagine that she is a privilege to work with and completely exhausting to keep up with in equal measure. With infectious energy, direction and passion, Moross is a great role model within the industry for any young designer to follow. Personally my favourite speaker of the entire weekend.


Bob Gill

Bob Gill, graphic designer

And yet I cannot leave out ‘your man’, the legendary Bob Gill. Over 50 years of experience at the top gives you all the insights and all the opinions you could ever need in this industry. In his own words he believes in ‘making boring problems interesting’, that ‘design as an idea’ should be the process and that trips to your local dry cleaners will help loosen the creative mind.

But most importantly, the forthright, 82 year old “Mr Gill” (pity the poor youth who addressed him as ‘Bob’ in the auditorium) hammered home, in his brutally, honest and frank Noo Yawk accent, the importance of having an opinion. He believes it makes us designers more interesting. Only a fool would argue with him.


Latest articles