Out and About – Stoking your creative fire

From an unexpected find in a charity shop to apps with emojis: the power of exploring ideas, no matter how strange.

Sometimes all it takes is a trip out of the office to get some fresh inspiration. That’s what three of our designers did recently when they attended OFFSET Sheffield. The event was part of the Sheffield Catalyst Festival of Creativity and a key part of the city’s Design Week. Our team were definitely in their element – two days of insights, advice and exposure to waves of original creative thinking.

Designers Paul Ellis, Dan Mellor and Nicola Vernon-Smith all agreed that it was a great opportunity to be inspired by world-class creatives.


Art Director Paul Ellis came back feeling like he’d been inspired to think in different ways:

“It was great to see how other people in the industry, agencies of all shapes and sizes, disciplines and experiences (and not just in the UK) go through their thinking process. It really opens up your mind to try new things, and also new ways of doing things. It kick starts your creative juices”.

Paul grew up inspired by Dutch graphic design. He loves its simplicity and how it feels organised and structured, so he particulary enjoyed listening to Studio Laucke Siebein, an agency based in Amsterdam and Berlin: “I loved their interesting and quirky presentation style, just like the design they produce”.


For Graphic Designer Nicola Vernon-Smith, the essence of how designers should work was summed up perfectly by Darren Bowles, Executive Creative Director at Moving Brands:

“When pitching a creative idea to a client, it needs to be equally right and wrong”. She also loved the way the agency presents a concept to a client – as a video, giving an overall feel and direction for a campaign, rather than splitting it into specific elements.

For Senior Designer Dan Mellor, the highlight of the show was the talk by Pentagram:

“It was actually refreshing how they didn’t speak about or show any of their work. Instead they talked about how they find inspiration in everyday life. The designers are into video games, love experimenting with VR, so they like to see how they can integrate different – and sometimes very unpredictable – elements into their design. It just proves that, no matter how strange an idea may seem, it really should be explored. For example, it really stuck in my mind that a random find of a brand book in a charity shop drove them to researching ligatures. The ligatures then turned into their own font, which somehow then evolved into creating an app with emojis!”



The presentation by manufacturers G.F Smith stuck in Paul’s mind: “With paper you have one opportunity to impress your audience. You can get personal with paper, the texture, the weight, the size, it all adds to a playful experience. Print is definitely not dead!”.


Watch Dan and Nic tell us about their highlights from the day:

All in all, an inspiring day for the team. We can’t wait for next year!