Forward Festival magazine and flyer with the timetable of the 2019 event in Hamburg

The place to get inspired: Forward Festival

Last October I was lucky to attend the Forward Festival in Hamburg: 2 days, 2 stages and a lot of workshops and happenings, all focused on Design.

Created 5 years ago in Vienna, it is a place where the creative community can inspire and learn from each other. The core ambition of the festival, as they state on their website, is to bring each other’s ideas, projects, and goals forward. I felt this was totally true, as I came back with a lot of ideas and drawings in my notebook, and a bunch of new interesting profiles to follow on Social Media.

I am not gonna extend this blog post through all the talks I attended, but instead, I am just gonna focus on 5 ideas that stuck in my head.

1.- Authenticity is the key. It is cool to care

I especially enjoyed the talk of Markus Lust from Vice. He did a quick overview of pop culture in the last decades emphasizing the changes that have come with Gen Z. What was more refreshing about it was to see how he gave value to the new way of thinking: the Internet has become less ironic, more sincere. It is time to cut the bullshit.

2.- Our tools shape us and can empower us

According to Michael Jonas, we should extend our scope of work to address subjects like ethics. Artificial intelligence and the new ways of creating have brought moral questions to design, and we cannot ignore them.

3.- Images are a universal language that does not need a translation

I will confess that the aesthetics of Toilet Paper Magazine got my interest from the very beginning but having Micol Talso talk to us about how they create their surreal images was a blast. They search for a level of synthesis that allows the image to stick to people’s minds and that is easy to spread but that, at the same time, offers a lot of layers of interpretation depending on context and culture. All of this, maintaining a strong and recognizable aesthetic.

4.- Trust is built in small steps

The idea that Pascal Dulex from Freitag transmitted was that creative companies start off by focusing on the product and trusting the people you work with, and with whom you usually share the same values. Organization within the company comes with growth.

5.- No matter how much everything changes, there will be always an interface

As designers, we need to change our way of thinking. As Steven B. Cook from Metadesign stated, we don’t know what is to come, but as we move forward, design needs to concentrate less on artefacts and more on systems. It is essential to keep a macro view and understand the interface as something we can interact with in many ways (voice, movement, writing). The combination of visual elements with other things will be crucial in the future.

EXTRA: Believe in your idea and work to transmit it to the client

This is a big lesson that we have listened to a lot of times, but it is good to refresh it from while to while. This concept was very present while Raj Davsi from The Mill showed us the process of conceptualization and creation of the title sequence for the Festival.

If you want to know more, here you have the video of the event:

You can already check out the program, cities, and dates for Forward Festival 2020.

I don’t want to finish the article without talking about the location of Forward Festival in Hamburg: Millerntor Stadium is the home of FC St. Pauli (known as the first team in Germany to officially ban right-wing nationalist signs and activities in their stadium), a perfect place to hold this creative event, just in the middle of St. Pauli neighbourhood and near Karolinenviertel, an area filled with good energy and amazing design shops like Glore Hamburg (where you can get sustainable fashion) or Snaps. Actually, Hamburg is a vibrant (and very cloudy) city full of neighbourhoods with very different personalities. If you travel there and you have some spare time, I recommend you to visit Gudbergnerger, a design bookstore that is the delight of design lovers.

Millerntor Stadium, home of Forward Festival Hamburg 2019