What you need to know about the first OFFF London

The international creativity festival OFFF is heading to London for the first time this September. Promising to unite the worlds of graphic design, moving images, digital art and musical performances, the two-day event, which runs from 29-30 September, will offer something for designers of all disciplines.

Over the course of the festival, attendees will be treated to talks from the likes of Adobe, Design Studio, The Mill, Studio XO and many more. With just over a month to go, you can still buy tickets from the OFFF site.

To give you a taste of what to expect at OFFF London 2017, we caught up with OFFF founder Héctor Ayuso and Malin Hanås, creative director at POKE – OFFF's London partner.

OFFF hits London from 29-30 September 2017

OFFF hits London from 29-30 September 2017

What are you most excited about for OFFF London?

HA: I have always wanted to bring OFFF to the UK, a big percentage of our Barcelona (main event) audience come from the UK and have always demanded to bring this experience to their hometown, so I’m definitely looking forward to see OFFF growing in London, people’s reactions, the vibes and the general atmosphere being translated from the Barcelona experience to the UK experience.

We have selected the line-up and tailored while choosing the featured speakers with so much love and care, some of the artists will be sharing a few new projects for the first time. I can’t wait to see the audience reaction.

MH: I've been going to the OFFF festival for 7 years as a visitor and fan, and I couldn’t be more excited to be involved in putting one on. Bringing my favourite event in the world to POKE’s long-term friend and client Here East, and working with the super talented POKE gang to create a crazy identity for it, is such a dream project.

The identity and branding is all about that restless curiosity and the (sometimes stupid) love for the craft that unites OFFF goers from all over the world, and I’m super proud to present that on stage. I’m also really excited to bring this great festival to my adopted hometown, making it accessible to young creatives in the UK who might not be able to travel all the way to Barcelona.

What is POKE bringing to the OFFF format?

MH: London is a real creative melting pot, one of those world metropolises that is a magnet for young artists and creative people from all over the world, so there will be a really great crowd. The venue is just on the edge of Hackney Wick which has a great art scene and plenty of good watering holes. As for POKE, we bring a beautiful festival identity, more great people, good vibes and some really sweet tech. Most importantly we brought in our friends at Here East who are hosting it.

Malin Hanås recommends you save sleep for after the conference

Malin Hanås recommends you save sleep for after the conference

Why is OFFF the must-attend event this autumn?

MH: I've been to many events over the years, and OFFF stands out as the best of all of them for a few reasons. The people are young, hungry and there to learn! Plus the price point is one of the main reasons that young people can go.

And of course the speakers play a huge part: whether they're a big production house or a design legend, an experimental artist or a skilled craftsperson, they will talk about creativity and what they do from human point of view without trying to sell you anything. All these factors make a wonderful vibe, so as a result, the atmosphere is fantastic.

OFFF is very far from top-heavy conferences full of bosses, it's more like a music festival than an industry event.

How come it’s taken OFFF – one of the most exciting global creative events – so long to come to the UK?

HA: It’s crazy but we never make the decision to bring OFFF to a specific country. Of course we have a wish list and certain desires to bring OFFF to many cities, but the truth is, it’s always the city and the organisers who call us to bring OFFF to their city.

We have received many demands to bring OFFF to many cities but it always depended on choosing the right partners to work with. It’s important for us to work with someone who will take OFFF as its own baby and treat it the same as the main event in Barcelona, avoiding any risk of ruining the reputation in other cities. So we are grateful to work with POKE, the right people to bring such a big event to their city.

Héctor is happy to bring OFFF to the city designers love the most

Héctor is happy to bring OFFF to the city designers love the most

How well do you think OFFF will translate into a UK environment?

"London is 'THE' city, everyone wants to be in London," says Héctor. "Designers love London. Everyone wants to be at OFFF seeking creativity. So it’s a win-win situation. Our UK audience have always been loyal to the event, creating their own vibes and opinions at OFFF. So we are very excited to see that happening in their own place.

"Here East venue is also a great spot, translating the real vibe of OFFF Festival. It’s an extra detail that adds to the experience. So there’ s no doubt that this is going to be one of the most special OFFF on Tour editions we will host."

What pro tips can you each give visitor for making the most of OFFF London?

"Always come first, make use of both entire days, attend all the talks because every single talented speaker has something special to say to you that will help you in whatever you are looking for," says  Héctor. "OFFF is an amazing inspiring experience that you should attend, so don’t miss this special London edition."

"Have a location in the audience where you usually sit so you can find your friends again if you lose each other," adds Malin. "Don’t worry about the speaker being someone you’ve never heard of. The surprises are often the best.

"Make the most of it: Sleep is for next weekend. Take notes, it helps you remember. Everyone is really humble and friendly, so speakers will wander round the festival before and after their talks and are normally super happy to chat."

Tickets for OFFF London 2017 are available to buy now, with discounted prices for students.

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.