Reasons to be creative
Of the most overused buzzwords on linkedIn it seems ‘Creative’ is No.1. The somewhat pejorative connotations of that word and the critique of its overuse seemed to be a running theme at the Brighton Conference, ironically named ‘Reasons To Be Creative’.
On a sunny Sunday in September, the Digital Science UX team got the opportunity to attend the event held once a year, bringing some of the most creative, artistic and technically gifted people together for a four day marathon of talks and workshops.
The first day, a workshop run by design guru Stefan Sagmeister, revolved around creating a piece of art for someone close to you, but not necessarily a loved one, using a material that you have never used before. This was quite challenging as the desire to create something aesthetically appealing with something that you do not have experience in can be quite daunting.
Essentially, the idea was to encourage non-commercial work with our talents by creating a personal experience for someone. The final piece of the puzzle for the experience being the delivery mechanism of the art work and seeing the happy smiles or weird looking expressions of the recipient.
The rest of the event took part in three different spaces in the Brighton Dome, followed in the evening with “inspired” sessions by design veterans Erik Spiekermann (renowned typographic designer whose works include the typeface FF Meta) and Sagmeister.
In his Insightful and entertaining talk “Is there life before death” Spiekermann, who graduated in the late 60’s, spoke of the agile development process for designers and how the process of creating applications and UX works at his company, much like here at Digital Science. As designers too easily remain stuck in their way of working, it was refreshing to hear from someone who is about to retire that they continue to learn and adapt in our industry.
Other speakers included Eva-lotta Lamm, Interaction Designer for Android at Google, who spoke on the importance of sketches in the development of ideas. At Google, she is encouraging the use of open spaces for designers and non-designer to participate in doodle breaks, where you doodle a random phase from her website. Her talk was pretty hands on and a lot of fun to participate in and literally illustrates more creative ways than nicotine or caffeine to refuel one’s energy levels.
Other noteworthy speakers included Dominic Wilcox, who presented his quest of discovering new ideas through his artwork, Brad Frost whose talk about the white noise around us, arguing that we had a choice to either contribute to it or be apart of the signal. Also Jon Burgermann who like Wilcox discussed his work and things that inspire him.
It was interesting to see how different designers and artists find their inspiration. Quite often we feel locked in our own minds, thinking that the process of creativity is a secret martial art that requires us to learn that one special key that will unlock all possibilities. Alas, it would seem, that the only secret is there isn’t one or to put it another way – “lots of hard work”.
One unique thing about ‘Reasons To’ is that unlike other conferences they give an opportunity for up and coming speakers to present in the fast paced elevator pitch, a quick 3 minute slot to present ideas on their chosen subject. These are then voted on by the conference go’ers, the best ones invited back next year to give a full session.
All in all it was a great event to be apart of with the UX brimming with new ideas to use day to day – be it Lamm’s #doodlebreaks or a refined agile method from Spiekermann.