Design event Reasons To Be Creative returned on Friday for the second time to Old Street, London, bringing with it an eclectic lineup of speakers, including computational designer Karsten Schmidt, my favourite UK illustrator and ‘visual entertainer’ Mr Bingo and the ever-innovative designer Brendan Dawes.
If one message prevailed at Reasons: London, it was that you never quite know where an idea might take you – or who might, eventually, pay you for it.
Jon Howard, aka Swingpants, executive product manager for future development for CBBC and CBeebies, explains why “smartphones are the new torch under the duvet” and why the BBC has to be as creative as possible to stay ahead.
With play-along apps like Ludus proving surprisingly effective at engaging their target audience, behaviour is changing, he said, and the catalyst is technology.
Armed with pencils and paper, the audience got their draw on with Eva-Lotta Lamm during a late afternoon session in which the UX designer and illustrator gave an entertaining masterclass in sketching.
From Mr Bingo’s 80s porn star haircuts projects to Hate Mail to Hate Ale, the key to a popular project is often simplicity, he explained, before treating the audience to a Duncan Bannatyne-inspired rap.
“I like to describe myself as the Kim Kardashian of data. There’s nothing heavy going on,” said Brendan Dawes, unconvincingly. He went on to explain how he processed millions of bits of data to generate 11 unique digital portraits of cities for EE in an inspiring closing session.
“I think we need quirkiness in our lives,” he explained, as he walked through some of his most innovative projects like the Happiness Machine. His message? “You have to keep putting stuff out there. You never know where it’s going to lead.”