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You’re sat in the studio, staring at your screen. You’re stuck for ideas and you’re going slightly crazy. Sound familiar? It probably will if you’re a graphic designer or print maker.
There is, however, a really good remedy to these moments that often gets ignored or brushed aside by many. Attending a great design event can be more than just something to do when you’re bored; it can provide you with all sorts of valuable ideas and experiences, which can push you forward in your work. Here is a selection of some of the best print and design events in 2014 to consider attending this year.
Designival – July 2014
Designival – branded as the largest design festival in the North of England – is returning in July this year as part of the International Business Festival in Liverpool. A two-day event, it boasts a varied itinerary, offering something for everyone no matter what their discipline.
Open Studio events are a popular feature, giving guests the opportunity to explore the studios of designers in the industry, view and discuss work and generally network with like-minded people. The biggest pulls, however, are the guest speakers and lecturers. Always of a high calibre, they talk about their work and careers and provide guests with a valuable insight into their world. Of course, there is always the obligatory social evening where you can eat, drink and have an informal chat with the industry experts. These are the golden occasions where you can get valuable advice that will likely stick with you for the rest of your own career, so listen up!
Manchester Print Fair
The Manchester Print Fair is a fairly new event that started in 2011. Its popularity has grown in the short time of its existence and increases each time it is held. Usually staging two fairs a year, it gives anybody and everybody the chance to showcase and sell their work at popular Manchester venues.
Designers from up and down the country including students, emerging artists and freelancers attend each event side by side creating a creative community and an exciting, relaxed atmosphere. It is also a very affordable event, making it accessible to all.
These events are valuable because, not only do you get exposure (and hopefully some money) for your work, but you also get to network with a wide range of other designers and obtain lots of inspiration for future projects.
The Chip Shop Awards – 12th June 2014
The Chip Shop Awards is a design competition open to absolutely anybody with a great idea. There are countless design events held every year in the UK, but this one is unique for one main reason; there are no limits. You can enter work that is as shocking, crazy and as un-pc as you like. (I should mention, however, that some extreme entries have been held back in the past; there has to be a line somewhere after all)
The most attractive element to these awards is most definitely the ceremony which is held at the Ministry of Sound venue in London. Due to the ‘no limits’ nature of the competition, you end up seeing a lot of very amusing work, some of which will make your jaw drop. You can even plagiarise like mad, it’s allowed! The ceremony also boasts free food, live entertainment and, of course, the chance to network.
The Typo talks are large-scale annual international design conferences that pull in visitors from all over the world. These events are very high-profile and tickets go fast, so get in early if you can. The reason for this is mainly the big names that attend. For example, previous speakers include industry giants Neville Brody, Erik Spiekermann and Chip Kidd. Speakers, who consist of journalists, scientists, professors and marketing experts as well as designers, give presentations on their work and talk at length about their careers and ideas based around the given theme of the event which is different each time.
Once again, this event is a chance to glean ideas and advice and to network with some of the most interesting people on the planet. Typo is held in several cities across the world including Berlin and San Francisco. London often plays host which is why it is mentioned here. Keep an eye out for the next event; you’ll want to be there I can assure you.
The London Design Festival – 13th/21st September 2014
The London Design Festival is another large-scale event held annually. It features over 300 events and exhibitions over nine days and attracts visitors and organisations from all over the globe.
Installations, restaurants, tours, workshops, seminars, open studios, trade shows and more await the visitors of this festival, making it one of the most important and exciting events in the design world. Held in venues spanning across the whole of London, there’s a lot to explore and take in, but it is well worth it. The spectrum of design disciplines is incredibly broad, your eyes are opened to all sorts of artistic talent that you never knew existed and you get the benefit of so many people’s advice and influence that you’ll have a whole sketchbook of new ideas when you leave. If you don’t, you spent too much time in the pub!
Get out there
These design events, and so many of the others not mentioned here, are always worth your time. There is so much inspiration out there, and not just exclusively for artists and designers. Anyone can take away valuable experiences from events like these, so get out there and try a few, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Have you been to any of these graphic design events? Or any that haven’t been mentioned above? Share your experiences – we’d love to hear about them.
Design Events article contributed by freelancer blogger Rachael Pegram on behalf of 123 Print