October 19, 2016
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5 Things We Learned at Cincinnati’s OFFF Creativity Conference

Creativity is contagious. So sometimes, experiencing creativity from another perspective can inspire you on an entirely new level. In this spirit, Seed’s creative team recently attended the OFFF Cincinnati conference.

This annual event invites designers, writers and others in the creative community to engage with some of the world’s biggest names and brightest minds exploring design and technology through inspiring talks and presentations. Plus, with Cincinnati being OFFF’s only US stop on its global tour, we had to go.

The daylong event featured visually captivating presentations by Carl Sprague, Outro Studio, Adi Goodrich, Lotta Nieminen, Alan Williams from Imaginary Forces, Timothy Goodman and Cincinnati-based Lightborne. It was a hugely inspirational day, but here, we’ve managed to distill down the top five things we learned.

1. Behold the power of the pencil

Taking an idea from inside your head to something tangible can seem tricky, but the first step is to put pencil to paper. Just start sketching. It doesn’t need to be polished—or even any good. But the simple action of organizing ideas in a 2D format forces you to iron out the details and start figuring out how to bring your concept to life.

2. Hunt for your style

Finding your unique style or creative voice isn’t a straight path. You need to create like crazy, try anything that strikes your fancy, push yourself to new places. If something tangential catches your attention, go after it. Keep exploring and experimenting until you find something that feels uniquely “you.” Then, after you’ve had time to wander, you’ll possess the experience and perspective necessary to hone your craft and define your point of view.

3. Dig deep into research

Of course it’s important to learn about what you’re creating or whom it’s for, but try going one (or two or three) steps deeper than your ordinary research. Become the person, place or emotion you’re aiming to emulate. Create a playlist, curate a Pinterest board, switch up your lifestyle. Utterly immerse yourself in the material and then you can simply let your instincts take the lead.

4. Hang with your buds

Creativity isn’t a nine-to-five gig. So if you’re going to be working long days (or nights), try to do it with people that inspire you, and that you simply like hanging out with. Keeping your buds nearby can help keep the work fun and fresh, and can be great for blowing off steam when needed.

5. Creativity first, title second

Creativity doesn’t care what your title is. When it comes to approaching a challenge, determine what the best creative solution is, and do that. Don’t ever feel burdened or siloed by a job title. Pursue the execution that will let the creative idea shine brightest, even if it means going outside your comfort zone or bringing someone else into the fold to see it through.

Whether you’re a seasoned creative or just starting out, hopefully these five lessons can help give you the same boost of inspiration that it gave to us.

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