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Offset - Day three

After a bit of an unplanned lie in and a mad last minute dash to the Bord Gais Theatre I sneaked in to the very back row just after Sue Murphy took to the stage. I had an awful seat and couldn't see the presentation screen thanks to the low hanging gallery above but she was in full swing talking about her early career as a designer.

Sue was making reference to 'burn out' and how as a young designer she was working away at a job she wasn't excited about but was working herself in to the ground for it. She said all designers, of whatever discipline are guilty of this. What she did was sit back and think of when she was at her most happiest, and what was she doing during that time. This lead her back in to further education where she did a Masters in Advertising and started working for IBM. For her having a check list is important when looking for a new job. Those items on that list should be present - if they aren't then you are in the wrong job. But also bring a check list of things you enjoy in your day-to-day like and where possible bring these items in to your day job too. 

What was funny to listen to was her absolute hatred of the printing process. She said she has no idea what she is doing and gets sweaty palms when sending items to print and this is why she prefers working on digital platforms - nothing is permanent. I think we can all relate to this and we've all experienced it.

Matt Willey

Matt was another big name that I was really excited to hear speak. My background in publishing made this a very interesting one. He said "Magazines are vessels for stuff I really like" and it really resonated with me, took me back to the many long hours I spent carefully planning and plotting the wedding magazine I worked on. It was my own personal scarp book on dresses, shoes, make up and all things girly! Matt constantly referred to just falling in to design as he first tried illustration and then photography. The only next logical step to take was design. I think he made the right choice. His first magazine was Zembla and he played a show real of all the variations of the front cover before the settled on the main design. He wanted to illustrate to all the audience the variations that we all have to go through to find that 'ta-da' moment. He has also worked on the Royal Academy Magazine and started up his own title Port, which he doesn't own anymore. Port was a new age mens magazine and like the quote above, a vessel for all the things that a modern man would want. Lots of famous men have graced its cover, men who normally choose to stay out of the spotlight but due to the nature of the content were happy to take part. Daniel Day Lewis being one, who then went on to be a Sub-Editor on another issue.

His work though on the British newspaper, The Independent, was the part I was most interested in. I remember clearly when the redesign of this iconic newspaper was released. I was wowed by it - and to say that about a newspaper isn't something that happens too often, if at all. It was so clean, so elegant and simple. The format, although in compact, felt like a broad sheet and he showed us how that was achieved.

The logo was reworked from the original version and a new typeface was designed. A very simple, corporate colour palette was used, which he said was a battle as they paper loved loads of colour up until that point. A constant battle! The scale of this project was immense - and it was achieved in three months. Astonishing. I have to say Matt's presentation was one of my highlights of the weekend. Layout is something I love and to see it done in such style, class and with such detail was a delight to watch.