3 Lessons Learned from OFFF Cincinnati

For the third year in a row, Cincinnati was proud host to OFFF. OFFF Cincinnati “ …features some of the world’s biggest names and brightest minds exploring design and technology at this moment - including coders, illustrators and motion graphic designers.”

OFFF delivered on that promise and more. Each person had worked intimately with technology, but had also put their own spin on it. The presentations ranged from cerebral art talks to informational ones, inspiring me to do more in different ways, like Brooklyn Beta. A few stuck out to me in particular.

1. Know 90%, Learn 10%

Yuko Shimizu was a wonderful way to kick off the day. Bubbly and full of vigor, you could tell Yuko was just happy to be doing what she loved: illustrating. She worked in the corporate world for 11 years before going back to school to learn to be an illustrator. She took a risk to do what she loves, the way she knows how to, and it’s paying off for her. Her tips and tricks on illustration can be applied to software design very easily. The thing that stuck with me is to start a task knowing how you will complete 90% of it, but leave 10% up to something new to learn. I often feel this way with my designs, knowing how I can implement most things, but leaving a small area up to me to figure out.

2. Go the Extra Mile, It Pays Off

This was a pretty damn technical talk. Luckily it was on something I do everyday: the process of web design. Anton Repponen, a visual designer, and Irene Pereyra, a user experience designer, had a ton of inspiring things to say. I scribbled out 2 pages of notes just soaking in how they work. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the whole presentation, the thing that stuck with me is their enthusiasm towards their clients, and being excited enough to go the extra mile. For their work on Wacom, the two were so inspired by the stories people create with their products, they filmed a short piece with a friend. Top executives loved it so much, they were sent to Japan to do a segment with the CEO. They went the extra mile because they were inspired by a business, and that inspiration led to the creation of one awesome site.

3. A Curious Culture Leads to New Business

David Mikula is now an art director, but his path there was nothing normal. Starting as a hacker in his teens, he redirected his energy towards some seriously inventive projects that used technology to create human interactions. One of the coolest things from him was Stanley the Piano. Digital Kitchen, his former employer, was given some space at a Seattle street fair. They came up with the concept of a player piano that takes requests via Twitter. It didn’t stop there. Stanley had a personality, and spoke with people through a TV. It got a ton of press, for a relatively small investment money wise, and lead to a huge uptick in work for Digital Kitchen. I love how thinking out of the box and creating something silly really paid off.

Conclusion

My favorite part of OFFF was that we got to bring these awesome people to Cincinnati. They got to share their knowledge with us, see our city, and all I had to pay for a ticket and a bus ride downtown. Each speaker was inspiring in their own way. Their interaction with technology in different ways inspires me to approach my computer with a different mindset.

Have you attended an OFFF event? Did you have an awesome experience like I did?

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