Avoiding Trains, Bicycles and Pedestrians. A creative voyage to FITC Amsterdam X.


A trip 10 years in the making, working in numerous agencies and looking for the opportunity to see a host of ground-breaking design, technology and cool shit from the best in global digital design.

“The objective is to quench the thirst for learning and set a goal to pursue our dreams and create the very best work.”

The adventure stars the team of digital creators from the award winning audience engagement agency Sonder. The objective is to quench the thirst for learning and set a goal to pursue our dreams and create the very best work.

This is the journal of one of the team members journey. PG, gives a brief overview of the experience at the 10th FITC. An opportunity which not only allows access to the thinking of some of the most inspirational talents in the design industry, but also to the streets and culture of the legendary city that is Amsterdam.


A city fully aware of its style

Landing in Amsterdam set the bar from a design perspective. The creative mind is confronted by an eclectic mix of visual inputs full of many references to build upon for beautiful design. Everywhere you look says design, art and creativity. Clean functional Swiss inspired graphics adorn the streets from way finding systems to exhibition posters.

“You just have to remember not to pause for too long and admire the style because you could be run over by any number of things”
The vehicles of Amsterdam exude eccentric style

Street art sits next to corporate identities. Tall, narrow buildings house beautiful interiors full of both modern and antique artefacts. Micro vehicles fill the streets and peaceful canals. You just have to remember not to pause for too long and admire the style because you could be run over by any number of things. Cars are the least of your worries, it’s the trains, bicycles and pedestrians that are charging in from all directions that you need to look out for. However, even with all the visual distractions and traffic awareness one can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of calm and peacefulness.

“However, even with all the visual distractions and traffic awareness one can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of calm and peacefulness.”

Day 1 @ FITC X

The stage is set, expectations are high. We are seeking inspiration. What can these visionaries show us. The speakers will talk about the past, present and future. How will this affect Sonder and our work? How can we affect the world and how we think?

My selection of speakers for day 1 of FITC

Key themes from day 1

So, the speakers didn’t disappoint. They had lots to say and I had much to hear. The best part was that we are all on the same page — Creatives that live and breath their passion. A recognition that all of us face the same challenges and use the same techniques to stay sane.

Here’s a list of key thoughts in no particular order. Take action today!

  • Transition from working your face face off to working smart
  • Know what parameters you are working to
  • Work quickly and iterate to find the best solution
  • learn on the fly — What could possibly go wrong?
  • Outsource when there is a skills shortage
  • Keep learning from your project work and advance your process
  • The crew needs to know what, who and when things need to be done
  • Always set time aside to play in the studio
  • Listen to younger members of the team
  • Keep the core crew happy — be a part of the crew
  • Have some good times — trips, get together for laughs and chats
  • Say no to some clients (Don’t be afraid to fire some clients)
  • Have a plan and believe in it
  • Create the future with your clients
  • Identify where the interesting stuff is happening
  • Start with a vision
  • Look beyond the horizon
  • Challenge the brief (The client will always ask for a channel (But question why?)) What is the motivation behind the brief?
  • Get under the skin of requirements
  • Prototype, test iterate and improve (high fidelity prototypes work best)
  • What is the relationship between the consumer and the brand?
  • Check and evaluate your plan to make sure the vision is being followed
  • Content can make people feel things
Visual representation of sound
  • You need exploration and time to think to produce the best results (The client has to invest in the approach, so educate the client and prove that the process will produce great results)
  • Experiment, experiment, experiment. The techniques you discover can lead to bigger things.
Reinvent yourself, observe the world and keep the creativity alive
Experiment, experiment, experiment. The techniques you discover can lead to bigger things.

Day 2 @ FITC X

Ok, so day 1 was a blast a visual extravaganza of treats and inspiration. looking forward to day 2 and more of the same thinking.

My selection of speakers for day 2 of FITC

Key themes from day 2

  • What emotion do you want to trigger? Facebook targets loneliness, Google maps helps me when I am lost?
  • We need to shift the UX focus from external triggers (CTA telling me what to do) to Internal triggers (How am I feeling when I use a service)
  • Think about the audience and where they wish to belong
  • Build trust with the audience (Trust comes from familiarity)
  • Think about priming (The concept of giving a little information on a subject before an answer is needed)
Find your company Pirate (The person that fosters creativity and is the innovation catalyst)
  • The information age is over, welcome to the experience age
  • Showing not telling is the goal of the experience age
  • Empathetic design builds an experience through storytelling
  • Engage people and speak to their hearts and minds
  • Redefine the traditional agency roles to fit the experience age
  • Designing for the experience age means crafting digital stories for other people to experience

“In the future everything will be smart connected and make it all better” This is both a vision and warning — The creators of the future must question the wider social impact of their creations…

  • Establish context, understand human motivations and psychology
  • Fill in the gaps with delightful experiences

I Hope this stream of thoughts and visuals gets you as inspired as FITC X did for me. Amsterdam is the perfect backdrop to this event and serves as the perfect reminder that creative people can change the world.

A huge thank you to all the speakers at FITC X, may our paths cross again and ideas shared.

Peace, PG