A 22 hour day. 200 miles driven. 9.5 miles walked. A gazillion ideas in our heads.
Last week, Birmingham’s design community invited the world to see their Noddy-Holder-esque design chops and they didn’t disappoint. NoChintz experienced a broad spectrum of talks and workshops on print design, digital interaction, interior design, architecture, branding, graphic design and advertising. Here’s a run down on the main takeaways.
First up was a Foilco workshop with a focus on translating hand-drawn artwork to foiled paper using a scanner, toner ink and a laminator. We got a little too focused and missed the first half of the next talk.
When explaining why androids dream of real sheep, Jack Sheppard put forward the idea that the attention of a digital audience is becoming more porous. Our digital consumption is used to having instant access to whatever we choose and if we fail to design our digital products with empathy, we risk losing the attention of users. He encouraged us to remember that ‘users’ do not belong to us and that ‘empathy’ is not a phrase limited to designers.
We listened to Rosemarie Fitton of De Montfort University talk about her students involvement in re-designing prison visiting areas. She drew comparisons between retail and prison design to leave us with the thought that if design can affect the behaviours of shoppers, we can surely have a profound effect on prison behaviour to improve the lives of prisoners and their families.
Greg Willis of Make Architects introduced us to the thinking behind Birmingham’s Cube building as well as exploring the masterplanning of the city. In a research-led approach, he suggested that we should create communities within mixed-use developments to make best use of space. Moving forwards, these developments would generate greater overall benefit to the largest number of residents and help to turn Birmingham from a city of vitality into a vital city.
The final part of the day was an adventure into advertising and big-hearted branding with speakers including Jack Renwick Studio ; Jim Sutherland, founder of Studio Sutherl& ; Trevor Beattie, advertising legend and Marina Willer, a Pentegram Partner.
In a series of engaging and witty lectures, the panelists showed some amazing work as well as discussing where their inspiration comes from. All of the speakers referenced the importance of personal projects and the influence they have on their day-to-day work. Their ability to challenge the norm and to take calculated risks has put them at the top of the game.
We didn’t quite believe that Birmingham could host a design festival but they’ve proved they’re a force to be reckoned with, even if they’re not quite as good as Manchester!
See you next year? Alright bab! Bostin!