3 Things I Learned During OFFF Barcelona

Guillermo Seis
Jun 7, 2016 · 5 min read

“Art and design are completely different. Art is about making questions, design is about making solutions. So, in art you can make something that doesn’t make any sense, which is okay. In design you have to make sense.” 1

The question still remains: How can art and design coexist in the Digital Era?

Last week I had the opportunity to attend OFFF. It’s a creative forum dedicated to connect, share and feed the future of design. During the last decade, Barcelona became an epicentre of ideas by welcoming designers from around the globe. Inviting them to open up a dialogue about technology, innovation, art and creativity.

“The biggest challenge designers are facing right now is the fact that they are designing a lot of things that are new, that have not been done before. In organisations that are evolving and changing, for audiences that are evolving and changing…” 2

During OFFF I documented useful touch points that may help project managers, designers or anybody involved in the digital industry to understand the workflow of creation nowadays, the harmony between design and art, acknowledge innovation and finally become a problem solver driven by creativity.

1. Make it happen!

Ideas are everywhere. Counterintuitively, creativity is something really common. Everyone has ideas ranging from good to great. However, sometimes it’s hard to make it happen and excuses are always around the corner. Are we really scared to fail? Or are we just too lazy sometimes?

Award winning agency “ustwo”, creators of the famous game “Monument Valley”, shared their experience regarding their journey of success. They agreed on the following: “To succeed, first you need to fail, fail a lot, fail as much you can”. Sounds cheesy but it’s true. If you think about it, their journey of failure gave them the knowledge and experience to improve each time, crafting a better product until they could create something mind-blowing as “Monument Valley”.

What about those ideas you have but you don’t know how to execute them? That thought takes me to the next point.

2. Collaboration is the key

Can I hear an amen? Oh yes lord! Thanks to the Digital Era we have access to thousands of resources. In addition to the tools, we have networking. Each time you collaborate with designers, artists, filmmakers or musicians, you will see how each of them provides a fundamental piece of the project. Together, they elevate the standards, quality and value of the project. I would like to share two different examples:

Example 1:

Instead of assigning one designer to a specific project, try to assign two of them, then have one of them assume a leadership role. Results are going to be great! Having this kind of technique will provide confidence to your employees. Meanwhile “Designer A” can have a focus on interface design, “Designer B” can be focused on art direction. The feedback and communication between the duo will establish a bound of reliability and together they will learn and evolve faster than they would do alone.

Example 2:

Imagine yourself as a CEO. Now take your team and invite them to your mini incubator. A place supported by your company and dedicated to creation. It’s a place where your employees can give wings to their own ideas, dream big and work on side projects. You will see how the most fantastic ideas will come to life and eventually get attention from the media. So by pushing a side project, you will not only help your employee realise a dream, you will also create awareness of your company — FOR FREE! Some of the ideas created in your mini incubator will even become a new and innovative business model you can implement in your corporation.

Additionally, your company culture will profit from this kind of incubator projects by showing the people how much they can accomplish only by collaborating with each other. Motivation within your team will increase and, in the long run, this new way of working will pay off with your clients. So don’t try to push your employees to be creative; it won’t work. Just give them the freedom to do and realise things they really love and you will get results you can’t even imagine now.

Take a look into this year’s ideas from SID LEE and Digital Kitchen created by exactly this kind of system:

Kim Kardashian Selfies Art Series

Cards Against Humanity

Meet Stanley

3. From Local to Global

Globalisation already is an ongoing process — at least if it comes to international trades and cooperation between companies. Inside many companies and agencies, globalisation and multicultural thinking still is underdeveloped. They must learn that language should never be a factor to decline talent. International talent can play a big part in changing the culture inside a company from local to global. And that’s a key factor for being successful working together with international partners. Only if a company is able to think and work in a multicultural way are they able to understand what international customers really want them to create and build. So the message is: Think, work and live multiculturally. It not only helps you to think outside the box, it helps you to think and act outside of your comfort zone and in that way helps you to aspire bigger customers without being afraid. Let international influences be a part of your daily work life and you will be amazed by the big potential you will unlock!


  1. John Maeda, Design Partner at KPCB

2. Ben Blumenfeld, Designer Fund

A big thanks to Robert, Paul, Matthias and the Pulpmedia team to make this experience possible. Also grateful with Mario (Lemi) & Johanna for contributing with this article.

Originally published at pulpmedia.at/blog on June 6, 2016

Guillermo Seis

Written by

Guillermo, The Mexican. Digital designer made in Mexico, based in Austria. Currently at pulpmedia.at

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