Diary: Reasons to be Creative Day 1

14th September 2015
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Last week Aidan, Adam and Jennifer attended the Reasons to be Creative conference in Brighton. The 3-day event features speakers from a wide variety of disciplines who inspire, entertain, inform and teach. We met fellow designers and coders attending from all over the world, swapping ideas and providing inspiration.

With lots of weird and wonderful things to see and do, we decided to kept a diary of the event!

Here’s a taste of what we got up to on Day One of the conference…


How to Use Data in Your Creative Process

Mike Brondbjerg

Data is everywhere, and in this session we looked at how sampled data can be represented by colour & form to create animated, expressive data visualisations. When using data as source material, visualisations have integrity and need to be designed in context of the content they represent. Methods demonstrated to gather and visualise date include JavaScript, Arduino processors, map data, pulse monitors and music.

You can take a look at Mike’s Dead Presidents project here and try it for yourself here.



Data as Emotional Material

Stephanie Posavec

Stephanie is a data visualiser, information designer and data illustrator originally from Colorado who has lived in London since 2004. This talk centred on how to use data to communicate how you feel about the subject matter. Pure insight isn’t always the end goal of every project when working in this way, however it is vital to always uphold data integrity and not fudge the figures. Stephanie does this by:

  • Showing inherent patterns
  • Providing explanations
  • Using data that resonates
  • Giving her visualisations context

stephanie posavec

Example projects included:

Touching Air

Unique jewellery designs based entirely on open air quality data from Sheffield. What if we could feel the health burden of air pollution on our bodies?

Dear Data

Two women who switched continents get to know each other through the data they draw and send across the pond on postcards. Each week a topic was chosen; the themes focussed on tracking data computers can’t capture (for example, the number of times they said ‘thank you’ in a week).



How to Avoid Ending Up on the IMDB Goofs Page

Annie Atkins

Annie specialises in graphic design for filmmaking. As well as creating contemporary artwork for movie posters, she also designs and makes any graphic pieces outlined in a script. Examples include prison escape maps, telegrams, neon shop front signs, fake passports, restaurant menus and newspapers.

Last year Annie designed the graphics for two Oscar-nominated films, the animated feature The Boxtrolls and The Grand Budapest Hotel – the latter went on to win the Academy Award for Best Production Design.


From researching design history to drawing shop front signage by hand, there’s more to this job than is immediately apparent at the cinema. Anything printed on screen needs a graphic designer to create. If it was made by hand at the time, items are actually made by hand now. By rule of thumb, there are usually have 6 identical copies of each item created, however, but if the item is used in an action shot it requires up to 30 identical versions to be painstakingly made.

A huge amount of work can be required to create items that may only have a split second of screen time. Just because the cinema audience may not see something however, doesn’t mean it isn’t useful – the props are used by the actors and the director to help them create the fictional world the characters inhabit. There are also always people out there ready to spot your mistakes! Historical accuracy and correct spelling will keep you off the IMDB goofs page.



Graphic Storytelling

Noma Bar

Noma Bar is an international award winning graphic designer, illustrator and artist. He has illustrated over sixty magazine covers, published over 550 illustrations and released two books of his work – Guess Who – The Many Faces of Noma Bar, in 2008 and Negative Space in early 2009. Noma has also created all the artwork for Chineasy.

For a political project called ‘Cut the Conflict’, Noma looked at the world’s toughest realities and aimed to make them easier to take in using abstraction, simple illustrations and clean lines – as well as source material sent to him from people in places of conflict around the world. He describes his craft as visual communication, combining the skills of artist, illustrator and designer – he’s ‘after the maximum communication with minimum elements’. Have a look at his work here.



Inspired Session: Idea Hunter

Dominic Wilcox

Dominic works between the worlds of art, design and technology to create innovative and thought provoking objects. Recent projects include a Binaudios device to listen to the sounds of a city – that works like binoculars for the ears – and a stained glass, driverless car of the future.


A playful approach to creativity is seriously important and the best ideas solve everyday problems. Aidan and Adam got to hang out and speak with Dominic Tuesday night. An interesting conversation ensued and after Adam described what he does at 3Squared to Dominic as “taking what the designers create, breaking it down into puzzle pieces and putting it back together again” an idea was formed to create a digital jigsaw puzzle that changes each time you use it!