Eight minutes of inspiration

hudson and bec

Last week I attended the 8×8 conference organised by I Love Design, at the Imperial College in Kensington. Conference is probably a bit of a strong word, suggestive as it is of stuffy business-suit types nibbling buffets and exchanging cards. Nothing could be further from what turned out to be a very entertaining evening. The idea was simply for 8 speakers to talk for 8 minutes each on the subject of inspiration. The line was very impressive, from grizzled vetrans, such as John Bateson, winner of over 50 D&AD pencils, to relative newcomers like Lewis and Hellicar, who’ve just run the most succesful user-interactive exhibition the V&A has ever known.

All the speakers poured out their hearts to the hundred or so of us gathered in the lecture theatre with the aid of frequently witty slideshows and, aided by free beer, we lapped it up. For myself, as a total newcomer to the industry, it was humbling and thought-provoking. It was wonderful to hear Richard Hooker (of Wieden and Kennedy) admit that he too has days when the ideas just won’t come, and Vaughn Oliver talk about his collaborations with students at the University for the Creative Arts at Epsom. Jamie Wieck boggled us with astrophysics as he decoded the Pioneer 10 plaque, Hudson and Bec explained to us how Cantona helped to shape their own philosophy and Matt Dent taught us a Singapore government slogan; “BE CREATIVE”.

The key message I took away from the evening was that design is nothing without an objective behind it. Design for the sake of it is flawed and generally lacking in direction, it needs a concept, an ideal to live up to and against which it can be measured. I believe that by setting out with a clear purpose, whether it’s to inform, educate or entertain, the end result becomes much, much more successful.

Oh and also not to forget that you never stop learning.

And apparently Eric Gill was a paedophile.


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