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By Trish Cox
August 10th 10:45am Chip Kidd Made me cry.
Chip shared his story about his husband going through the motions of cancer and the work he created alongside this journey in their life, finishing his presentation with a poem written by the love of his life in his final days. Life is short and what you do in your time matters.
And with that, my love for this design conference was restored.
Every year we head up to Auckland for our annual dose of inspiration. After 12 months you find yourself a little… well, jaded for lack of a better term. This is the weekend that reminds you why you are a creative and how important it is to use your powers for good.
Yup, powers :p
In this weird and wonderful digital age of AI, VR and all the rest of them, businesses have had to adapt to the environment to connect with their audiences using whatever platform they can get their hands on. Not news, I am fully aware.
Businesses are now monitoring their success by engagement, their value is based on visits, likes, shares and comments. Long gone are the days of the captive audience and we have been fighting for the attention of the people, bombarding them with more and more content. It seems like there isn’t much space for us to play anymore. Budgets get smaller, time goes quicker and content is obsolete within 24 hours we now have to work harder and faster than ever. We have created this mess together.
Now I could be the only person on the planet that feels caught in this marketing landscape nightmare but I felt compelled to share my takings from Semi Permanent. This year reminded me once again how important human connection is, that we are all in this together and we need to build a future we can all be proud of and want to be part of.
Always make time to play, never apologise for your passion and everything you do, do it with love.
Calle Stenqvist & Tor Castensson
Founders – Plan8
Calle and Tor are children at heart, they tinker, play and learn as they go to create cheeky and truly unique solutions for the companies they work with. One stand-out from their presentation was an app they developed for Kahlua.
The boys discovered that Kahlua is often drunk at Christmas time around the world, another thing that happens at Christmas is singing carols, combine the two and you’ve got yourself the “Kahlua Christmas Caroler”. Inside the app you can select a popular carol that your friends have decided to sing, and because you’re shit at singing, all you have to do is press play and shake your phone at every tone change to be able to sing along beautifully with your friends.
Irma is so shy she couldn’t even look up at the audience, she had a table set up covered in books she had created and spoke to them the whole time. She is genuinely excited about her work and she radiates passion.
Irma is a hard-arse and eccentric woman, she doesn’t care what you want she just wants to create beautiful work and if you don’t like the way she does it you can f*** off. There is a certain sort of confidence you must have about your work to get away with this attitude and you must be creating because you love it and not because you love the money.
Irma’s body of work is impressive, she took us on a journey through her books which she likes to go through in order of size, starting with an A4 book that was about 100mm thick through to the smallest thing I have ever seen in my life, a book 10mm tall.
I could listen to this woman all day.
Director – Just Breathe
Nicola disrupted the norm of this conference in a very human way from the beginning. She took the whole audience through a 5 minute meditation to help them reconnect with themselves, identifying everything that makes up the individual and taught us how to be those things but to also let go. It was humbling.
Nicola is all about creating more genuine technology and companies, creating different ways for people to interact with her products with a mantra of giving, not taking. 5 years ago her and her team created Tunepics, essentially a wholesome Instagram where the user shares their image but can associate it with a song. Music carries so much emotion and this was a way to put some real meaning into user experience. Instagram has been deemed the worst social media platform for mental health and you can see why. Her goal was to create a more genuine space for sharing, trying to discourage the ‘fake life’ posts that really aren’t contributing to society in a positive way and replacing that with connection, a reminder that we are all here and all human.
Tunepics had to close their doors and is no longer available to download as the music industry unfortunately couldn’t see the benefit of this experience and were trying to charge massive royalties for the use of their music (even though they were the free song previews) which made the company unsustainable.
Even though Tunepics didn’t work out, it was encouraging to see these market leaders with great social awareness in charge of building our future.
At the end of the day, we are all human. We all appreciate fun, a sense of humor and we all want to be loved. Rather than struggling to connect with your audience and wondering what does genuine content look like, just BE genuine. Stop trying to take and start trying to give. I’m still trying to figure it out for myself but I want to help create this beautiful future.