Design event Reasons to be Creative returned on Friday for the second time to Old Street, London, bringing with it an eclectic lineup of speakers, including computational designer Karsten Schmidt (opens in new tab), illustrator and "visual entertainer" Mr Bingo (opens in new tab) and the ever-innovative designer Brendan Dawes (opens in new tab).
If one message prevailed at Reasons: London, it was that you never quite know where an idea might take you - or who might, eventually, pay you for it.
Analogue meets digital
As Brendan Dawes pointed out: "Who wants a Play-Doh kung-fu movie? No one does!" Except, as it turns out, the BBC did. More accurately, the broadcaster liked Dawes' thinking - the concept of using an analogue material to control digital media - and it lead to a contract.
"You put things up on the internet, and you never know who's going to see them and pay you to do them," he explained. "These pieces are like your CV."
Kicking off at lunchtime, the Computer Arts team arrived just in time to see the day's second speaker, Karsten Schmidt, take to the stage. Here's a round-up of our favourite moments from Friday's Reasons: London…
"Programming as a discipline is a good process for humbling you," said Karsten Schmidt. "It's always my fault when things don't work."
Jon Howard, aka Swingpants, executive product manager for future development for CBBC and CBeebies, explains why "smartphones are the new torch under the duvet" and why the BBC has to be as creative as possible to stay ahead.
With play-along apps like Ludus proving surprisingly effective at engaging their target audience, behaviour is changing, he said, and the catalyst is technology.
Armed with pencils and paper, the audience got their draw on with Eva-Lotta Lamm during a late afternoon session in which the UX designer and illustrator gave an entertaining masterclass in sketching. This is her birthday party…
From Mr Bingo's 80s porn star haircuts projects to Hate Mail to Hate Ale, the key to a popular project is often simplicity, he explained, before treating the audience to a Duncan Bannatyne-inspired rap...
"I like to describe myself as the Kim Kardashian of data. There's nothing heavy going on," said Brendan Dawes, unconvincingly. He went on to explain how he processed millions of bits of data to generate 11 unique digital portraits of cities for EE in an inspiring closing session.
"I think we need quirkiness in our lives," he explained, as he walked through some of his most innovative projects like the Happiness Machine. His message? "You have to keep putting stuff out there. You never know where it's going to lead."
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