Two-day art and design event in London

Dublin-based art and design conference set up shop bang in the centre of London’s creative community, at Shoreditch Town Hall, the programme consisted a whole host of notable speakers.

Attending: Johnny Kelly, Erik Kessels (KesselsKramer), Seb Lester, Yasmeen Ismail, Maser, Pony, Andy Stevens (Graphic Thought Facility), Rachel Thomas, Aisha Zeijpveld, and more.

Representing industry at all levels, speakers are key disruptors and influencers in their field driving everything from huge global campaigns to awe inspiring personal projects.

There is a sense of celebration of cross-pollination of disciplines to be had with guests working in many disciplines animation, fashion, graffiti, graphic design, illustration, craft and more. With a general focus on their journey and strategy – the creative process – rather than the product of their efforts.

Highlights included Andy Stevens’ insight into Graphic Thought Facility’s wayfinding and identity work for Hult International Business School in East London. The studio visited the Evening Standard’s print room and were given a copy of the alphabet used to make its headline posters, which it used to create a series of phrases in the style of newspaper headlines, again using Cockney rhyming slang about money.

‘Visually they’re very simple – there’s not a lot of richness – but the language is quite opaque,’ says Stevens.


Erik Kessels of KellelsKramer spoke wise words; ‘It’s not so much about learning from your mistakes,’  he told the London audience. ‘It’s more about deliberately going towards your mistakes to change your creative process. Confusion is crucial.’

He advises making an idiot of yourself once a day. ‘If no one hates your work, no one loves it.’

Poster campaign – It can’t get any worse
Poster campaign - It can't get any worse
Poster campaign – It can’t get any worse

One of my favourite speakers was Johnny Kelly, Nexus Productions director, who believes in working with nice people. He is willingly ready to credit his successes to the people he works with. He also had advice to ensure with every pitch, won or lost, that you can take something away. ‘I try and learn something new with each pitch,’ he said, adding that this way he can walk away with a new technique or tool, even if he doesn’t win the pitch.

‘I’m also quite good at keeping ideas and using them again for something else,’ he said.

Finally Vince Frost gave us a rundown on his self-motivational book, Design your life, which deals with applying design principles to our everyday life. With the belief that design is fundamental to every aspect of our existence, this most recent publication is in response to the applications that changed him in terms of ambition and design practice.

I hit one too many walls. I was designing and redesigning everything else but myself. I tried outsourcing my problems but it didn’t work so I decided through desperation that I would tackle my life problems as if they were briefs. As a result I feel stronger and more alive. Life is a learning process. Instead of being intimidated by aiming for perfection just start taking incremental steps.

I know whats on my Christmas list… *wink wink*

12–13 November 2015
Shoreditch Townhall, London