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OFFF Barcelona is the largest showcase and window of contemporary visual creativity and design.

I knew that OFFF was going to be a great experience for the whole team at Hey! What? but couldn’t have estimated how much I got out of it from a management side, as well as our talented bunch of animators, illustrators and designers.

It had been a discussion back in the beginnings of the agency, with tickets booked before the perils of Covid19 kicked in. We really wanted to aspire to take everyone to OFFF as a celebration of what we’ve managed to achieve in 3 years.

We took the plunge as an agency, and took all 7 of the Hey! What? Gang with us. For many, including myself the first time we’d been in Europe in a very long time!

Excitement levels were high, smiling faces were abundant and that was all at the 9am mandatory airport pint before the flight from Bristol.

We arrived at the festival to beaming sunshine and each of us wanting to see different talks, workshops and demos. The team scrambled across the amazing venue.

I started off with the opening keynote by Echoic Audio a Bristol Based sound design agency who mainly work with international clients creating dizzying sound accompaniments to motion graphics. The presentation delivery was as slick as the work shown. It also hit a chord with me (pun totally intended) that these are friends from Bristol who have worked tirelessly for 10 years and are now presenting at OFFF - I was convinced it would of been a process to talk there but was told; ‘we just asked’ reminding me that if you don’t ask you don’t get. Something we strive to do at HW when it comes to being ambitious, and definitely a bit cheeky.

Maybe to get a talk at OFFF, something we’ve all agreed we want to do for the agency, it was as simple as asking? More on that at the end.

Thursday continued with catching up and meeting new friends, seeing a digital NFT gallery of incredible work and taking it all in.

I won’t go through every talk I went to over the 3 days but there were recurring themes that I kept taking from what I saw were the following:

  • “Make stupid things because you don’t know where they’ll end up” - Brendan Dawes

  • Don’t just create for clients always have time for experiments

  • Regardless in your stature in the design, animation, illustration world; there are always amends

  • Just keep asking for opportunities - don’t be shy!

  • Mistakes and being a bit silly sometimes, shouldn’t be frowned upon but embraced - you never know where creativity can come from!

  • Just because your agency has been running for less than 20 years doesn’t mean you can’t win huge clients if the creativity is there

The 3 days of talks and workshops gave everyone a bounce in their step and reminds you that you do work in a super creative field (even when you are the Managing Director) the creativity and chance to work in the visual and motion graphics world, was why I got into this industry in the first place, OFFF reminded me of that. It was fantastic to have the time to see other work, spend time away from our desks as an agency.

We had some time to discuss the different talks we could do at OFFF and how we’d approach it, it made us think about our work away from the studio and see how it stands up against the rest of the industry, the reassuring aspect of this is that we all have the confidence to see how our work can be sat next to other much larger agencies, when we are a team of 5 creatives, an account manager and me. Knowing our team can already achieve that made all the hard work of the last 3 years worthwhile.

Onto planning for OFFF 2023 and perhaps even asking if we can do a talk…


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