11 inspiring quotes from leading designers at Offset Sheffield

Wise words from the likes of Ian Anderson, Florence Blanchard, Tado, Ben Bos, Steve Simpson, Aaron Duffy, MPC and Moving Brands.

This is the second time that the Dublin-based Offset design conference has crossed the Irish sea for a British sojourn. Following last year's successful London launch, the organisers have looked north to Sheffield. I spent two days surrounded by talented creatives from illustration, graphic design, branding and VFX. Here's a slice of what I learned.

The overall theme of Offset Sheffield seemed to be using new technologies and the right teams of people to make projects come to life through collaboration.

Ian Anderson

Founder, TDR

"Designing something futuristic is problematic because it will quickly become dated."

Florence Blanchard


"I spent many years looking as fluorescent particles in the dark, so it really influenced my work."

Florence studied in New York for a PHD in Molecular biology studies, before going on to make work that draws from scientific forms such as cells and particles.

Advertisement. Article continues below

Ben Bos

"Design is advertising the value in a good product."

Darren Bowles

Creative director, Moving Brands

"Know your client and what they love."

The more you understand what motivates your clients and what they see success as, the more you can create projects that work for them.

Mike Doney


"Sheffield doesn't shout about the work it does or promotes it in such a big way. It's not Sheffield's style.

"Sheffield is all about the people, not necessarily the place. We've always been a city of makers from steel to bikes to whatever. Crafts are recognised more now, even though it's always been there."

It's great to be at a conference outside of London, where people only really talk about that city (and maybe international cities like Berlin and New York.

Advertisement. Article continues below

Aaron Duffy

Creative director, founder, thinker and maker

"Do it for the meal or do it for the reel."

If a job doesn't pay well enough – or give you something you can use to help you get jobs that pay well – don't do it.

Shane Griffin

Director & designer

"Artwork is a composite of all of the elements and details — I'm really in to details, especially when you know that people are going to see it really big."

Shane on producing large-scale projects such as the Nike SneakerBall.

Jodi Hudson-Powell

Partner, Pentagram

"A great teacher or network of people can give you a great sense of confidence."

Collaboration isn't just about coming up with great ideas and refining them, it's about other people's response giving you confidence in what you've created.

Advertisement. Article continues below

Ryan Knowles

VFX supervisor, MPC Advertising

Ryan's advice on how to deal with clients with bad ideas:

"You always agree with the client, but you need to give them a push and direct them to a new place."

Luke Powell

Partner, Pentagram

"Hobbies and side-interests actually come in to play in our everyday work."

Team members are encouraged to use their external interests to help inform their work, even during working hours.

Steve Simpson

Designer and illustrator

"Look to your inspiration in order to move forward."

To develop a new style, Steve spent time learning the design principles, ideas and language of the the objects and characters that inspired him – from commercial products to 50s jazz records.

Advertisement. Article continues below