Offset 2015 Part 2: Totally Legal Copies of Photoshop

March 25, 2015 – Culture

Read Part 1 here

Essentially this years’ face of Offset, known to their grandparents as ‘the pink man group’, Snask did not disappoint. The Swedish Creative Agency were played onto stage by their a rock band, VAG, who seemed to ad lib some of the topics discussed throughout the presentation. If anything, Snask’s main lesson to be thought was a heightened sense of self-awareness and self-marketing that Snask take great pride in. Their presentation was more about how much fun they are to work with, how cool they are, how successful they are and how many clients they get from giving presentations, rather than simply discussing their portfolio like all of the other speakers.

At one of their presentations they previously gave at Google they asked about the fun stuff around the office like the fireman’s pole and the big slide and they were told that ‘it’s just for newbies’ and that ‘it wrecks belts and stuff’. It’s this perception of cool and fun that Snask and friendly Google staff so blatantly admits to, meanwhile, their band makes up a song to enter in the next topic.

‘Make Enemies & Gain Fans’, Snasks mantra and title of their sold out book, really exists to further this image. The only way Snask could ever make enemies is through their head strong attitude. Their work is neither controversial nor revolutionary but the fact of the matter is that clients take one look at how well they market their own company and hope that if even a fraction of that rubs off on their own brand, then they’ll be doing well.

image by Sarah Moloney

Sue Murphy image by Sarah Moloney

It seemed like no coincidence that this year’s Offset fell on the same weekend as International Women’s Day. Successful women in the design world led many of the presentations, from Hey Studio to Emily Oberman from Pentagram, there was no shortage of females championing the creative world. One of these women was Cobh born, San Fran based, Sue Murphy. In the early days of the internet Murphy was building and designing ‘horribly sparkly’ websites from scratch, so it was only apt that she later found herself in New York spearheading IBMs advances in everything from advertising to graphics and interactive marketing techniques.

Murphy was incredibly honest throughout her speech. She talked about having absolutely no idea how to do things in the middle of jobs and having to learn on the go, along with discussing when she burnt out from overworking. ‘It was pretty horrible. It’s unfortunately a common thing that happens in our industry. It was from a mix of taking on projects and having no free time and setting impossible standards.’

In one of her colourful slides on the screen behind her, Murphy discussed a personal project of hers called Polyhistor- meaning ‘someone gifted or learned in multiple disciplines’, a term that describes Murphy quite well. Her varying talents all stem from self-determination, often self thought (‘with totally legal copies of photoshop and illustrator’), and a curiosity that consistently propels and excels her career.

image by Sarah Moloney

Andy Altmann, Why Not Associates image by Sarah Moloney

Being a British design company with over 25 years of experience, Andy Altmann takes great pride in it’s ability to survive and thrive going from no internet to the web fueled world it lives in today. In his humorous talk, Altmann tried to cram as much of his work into the 45 minutes as he could. 90s magazine designs made using photocopiers, projectors and lens flairs, ‘always trying to do typography a different way’, right up to commemorative sterling coins were all up for discussion.

Experimenting with typography have created some of Altmanns best work. He gave particular attention to The Comedy Carpet they made in Blackpool that was designed to look like old comedy posters and so he had the liberty of using every font he could think of. He also went through some of the logistical and financial madness of typography in the form of massive coloured concrete slabs dominating a large part of Blackpool’s beach.


Cartoon Saloon image by Sarah Moloney

If early Disney is famous for bringing old fables to life and to international audiences, Cartoon Saloon is Ireland’s Disney. It is one of the largest driving forces of the survival and evolution of Irish myths and legends. Unfortunately their animation work is largely ignored in Ireland, even with their Oscar nomination, as they joke ‘if everyone here goes to see it [Song of The Sea] and brings a friend we’ll be doing way better than ‘The Secret of Kells”.

Their presentation was based around their 2nd Oscar nominated feature length animation ‘Song of The Sea’ and the pre-production involved. One thing that they made paramount was how much of a collaborative experience it’s production is, not just within the office of Cartoon Saloon but how companies in other countries around Europe took on various animation roles. With that however came even larger problems when anything was delayed and each studio just wanted to get the work in. It took over 4 years to get off the ground and get funding together. ‘It’s really the art of collaboration and ambition.’

Words: Azzy O’Connor @azzyoc

Images: Sarah Moloney