I Went To Semi Permanent!

I went to Semi Permanent! For those of you who don’t know what Semi Permanent is, it’s a worldwide design conference with tonnes of artists, designers and business owners speaking about their experiences, insights and lessons. It’s insanely inspirational and encouraging. This year is the first time I’ve attended, and I thought I’d share my experience with you guys!

This post serves as not only a digitised form of my notes, but also to show all of you reading some of the important things I learnt at Semi Permanent that has helped broaden my horizon to design and design thinking!

Wellness & Design — Lucy McRae

Lucy describes herself as a “body architect”, where her work combines art and science with the body. I found her talk to be absolutely fascinating, because even though we are practically on either side of the spectrum of art, I felt like her work resonated a lot with me. Lucy spoke about art helping to overcome someone’s personal limitations that they set for themselves, and the threshold of moving out of your bubble of comfortability. And what if we all operated from a place of risk? What if we permanently moved outside of our little bubble of happiness and moved into a space that not only scares us but also gives us some kind of thrill? Why not combine the expectations with the possibilities of something new an exciting, and never to be done before?

Data into Art — Erik Klimczak

I never thought I’d enjoy an hour long talk about data, yet Erik proved me wrong! I have loved information design for as long as I can remember knowing it was a “thing”, and as Erik spoke about his passions of “[making] beautiful stuff with data” I felt like our design nerdiness had a real bond. Erik talked about the three kinds of data; behavioural, people and narrative. He asked us “how do we encourage people to broaden their behaviours?” Erik spoke about techniques of displaying data, no matter how huge the quantity is; in fact the larger the amount of data the better it is! He spoke about how visualising data can tell a story, how plotting graphs can help us see the world better. He said that even though data can be fixed, we can use it to anticipate the wants and needs for the future.

Premium Design — Natasha Jen

Natasha is a branding communicator, and her talk was centred around Premium Design and what makes a design premium. One of the most stand out quotes from her talk was “is it bad? No. But is it premium?” She discussed the process she went through in redesigning a brand’s logo/identity; how the design it had started out with wasn’t exactly bad per se, it just needed polishing. Natasha spoke about mixing realities and digital cultures, and what that can mean for the future of design; she also spoke about “utilising the familiar to show off the new” and how only 10% of ideas should be game changing. Good design doesn’t always have to be ground breaking, it can simply just be that, good design.

Mixing Realities — Nicholas Kamuda

Nicholas spoke about empowering people to achieve more through the inclusiveness of technology. How digital and physical integration can improve the experiences of the audience. Nicholas was passionate about AR/VR and how these can help stimulate the imagination and initiate storytelling. Design doesn’t always have to be 2D on paper or on a screen; we should (and need to) utilise the ever growing technologies that we have to bring our ideas as artists and the audience closer.

Communicating Ideas — Instrument

The guys from Instrument told us about the importance of communicating ideas; and not just the ones we think are good, but also the bad ones, because good ideas can come from bad ideas, all it takes is collaboration. They spoke about how some clients just don’t like the ideas you have; in which case, save it for a time or person who does, just because it’s not good for them, doesn’t mean it’s not good. They talked about the process of ideation, how “process has a beginning and an end, but it’s the middle that’s undetermined”, that hard problems can become motivators and that there is never failure only learning. Possibly, most importantly, Instrument told us to always remain curious.

Love & Design — Ana Arriola

Ana spoke about the five languages of love, and how each of them interplay with one another. How we have a responsibility as designers to make something that is not only important in the now, but also in the future. She spoke passionately about how “love can be a dance”, and ideas can “explode with delight”. One of the most important things I took away from Ana’s talk was to integrate love with your work, that love is made up with time, quality and emotional labour.

Design with Intention — Amber Cartwright

Amber talked about something that I am quite passionate about; designing to make a positive change. She spoke about how the role of the designer is to understand what is happening in the real world right now in order to improve their design and understand how it will be implemented and accepted. She spoke about how “today’s new platforms are unlocking human potential”, and that human connection is vital for design to work.

Beauty with Space & Form — Mark Gowing

Mark is a editorial and typeface designer, and I have to say that I am in love with his (and his company’s) work, and was definitely one of my favourite talks. He spoke about the passions he has for design and how he “[sees] design like music”, and to “drill into the purity of form”. Mark showed us many books that he and his company have designed, and that he has set a challenge to create a typeface for every book he makes. Although some of the typefaces got very abstract and were occasionally difficult to read, every single one of them were stunning. One of the main things I took away from Mark’s talk was to test the boundaries, how can you better an idea that is already good to start with.

Just getting on and do it — Hayden Cox & Valentin Ozich

I decided to combine Hayden and Valentin’s notes into one as they were both pretty similar in what I took out of their talks. Both boys talked to us about how they grew their business from the ground up, and how they overcame all the obsticles that were thrown at them. They spoke about taking control from the start to the finish and keeping the essense of your brand but allowing it to grow and adapt. Hayden particularly talked about how he “had no idea what [he] was doing, but [he] was just doing it”, and that sometimes that’s just how things work out; there isn’t always a set template for how you run or organise things, and that life happens and it’s how you evolve from it that makes your brand the best it can be. Valentin talks about not letting go or giving up; that “quality long term results require quality long term patience”, and that success and achievements don’t come from your comfort zone and sometimes you needed to be pushed down in order for you to come back up again.

I do hope that this hasn’t turned into a word-vomit post, and that you’re able to take at least something away from my experience, even if it’s just PLEASE GO! It’s absolutely worth it, and I cannot be more excited for next year’s conference!

I adored Semi Permanent so so much, I am so thankful for my parents for buying me the ticket to go for my birthday, and for the great company of Hollie, TK and Alisha over the weekend!

- Louise x


Originally published at www.louiseberyl.com.