Today I have a breakdown of the 16 sessions of the 2016 Brand Nieuwe Conference that took place this past June 20 – 21 in Amsterdam, and which was awesome. (If you are looking at this in an RSS reader head on over to the real thing, too much heavy formatting). This is a very long post with a photo of each speaker, very brief summaries from me and my partner in crime, collected tweets from the audience, and a preview of their video/session, so give it a good time to load. A few other things worth bullet-pointing:
• Videos for purchase are now available (with revised pricing across the years, including releasing the 2010 and 2011 videos for free).
• A lot more photos from the event have been posted in this Flickr album.
• Additional videos from the conference not included in this post: Day one opening remarks and BNConfAMS identity presentation / Day one closing summary / Day two opening remarks and Brand New summary (European edition!) / Day two closing summary.
• In a few days I will post this year’s identity materials. Just have to photograph them.
That’s it. Enjoy the post. There is a lot of great content from all the speakers.
Photos by Armando Ello.
A look at the branding process focusing on the gap between the strategy and design phases, illustrated through some of johnson banks’ own work.
Michael demonstrated how by ditching the fucking branding mumbo jumbo and asking simple questions great solutions will be found. For simple questions will place you in the right place to find the right answers. Start in the wrong place and you will end up trying to solve the wrong problems. He suggests approaching branding through 5.5 steps: do the Research; develop your strategy and narrative; design; implement; and, finally, engage and revive. Thus bridging, or translating, what we define with what we create.
A historic overview of the relationship between architecture and design and how that led to the birth of corporate identity in the Netherlands.
Through a historical review of Dutch influences and influencers Ben showed us how architecture and design began to separate more and more, and how designers gave birth to the notion of corporate identity. But what I noticed most was how in looking at his early work, that which followed, and what I know to be his latest projects there is an essence of Ben that is unmistakable to me — there is a directness in message and presentation that lacks pretension and overwork. It delivers in the most charismatic of ways.
So much great work… Shame we ran out of time with Ben Bos at #BNConfAMS— JBC DESIGN (@jbcdesign) June 20, 2016
Currently time traveling with Ben Bos back to the birth of corporate identity. It's the history of design lecture I never had. #BNConfAMS— Deepa Paul (@currystrumpet) June 20, 2016
Signage and graphic systems of Schiphol Airport has been "stolen by the whole world" #BNConfAMS— Marianne Dear (@MissMGingernut) June 20, 2016
A detailed behind the scenes account on the concept and development of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra identity by Bond.
Marko, through a breathtaking project, gave us several bits of wisdom: Quality is the only thing that stands the test of time. Workshops are design fuel for the creative process. The story is always changing. More is less. Hiring designers is hard.
Bond as the total opposite of Johnson. #BNConfAMS— Everjean (@Everjean) June 20, 2016
An example of how a love of calligraphy and continuous exploring of its potential informs the client work of the team at TNOP DESIGN.
Tnop showed us that attention to detail is imperative, as it is the small details that create the big picture. He also demonstrated that even when creating the unexpected it is often the process story that is the most interesting, not necessarily the finished product.
@tnopdesign brings charming and interesting design from Thailand #BNConfAMS— Bjørn Høydal (@BjornHoydal) June 20, 2016
Calligraphy doesn't have to do with the tool it has to do with the way in which you interpret the letterforms — Tnop #BNConfAMS— Brand New Conference (@bnconf) June 20, 2016
A range of six projects framed around the relationship between the design firm and their clients and how each shaped the process yet still led to a simple, iconic logo.
Sagi warned us to never show a client something you can’t live with, or you will have no one to blame but yourself. He also showed us that not always listening to what the client wants can lead to better outcomes. And he gave us the challenge to hear clients but to listen to our instincts as guided by our knowledge and experience.
‘Never put in front of a client work that you can’t live with.’ Sagi Haviv reports the wise words of Ivan Chermayeff. #BNConfAMS— Reed Words (@reedwords) June 20, 2016
Interesting opening from Sagi Haviv about speaking truth to power (and how in-house can't do it like an agency can) #BNConfAMS— Marianne Dear (@MissMGingernut) June 20, 2016
Impresionante la charla de Sagi Haviv, la mejor de todas hasta ahora. No os lo perdáis si tenéis la oportunidad algún día #BNConfAMS— Brandemia_ (@brandemia_) June 20, 2016
Create trust with clients and they will come with you #BNConfAMS— RichardsDee (@RichardsDee_) June 20, 2016
A convincing case for traveling, enjoying food, and living life as it can lead to great clients and a cache of authentic references to draw from.
By using the power of our eyes, the beauty of personal interpretation, and the talent of our hands we can, as designers, create something that is unique to our abilities. Eszter showed us that the sum of these parts can be used for all of the personal projects that we can dream up, but most importantly, this approach can also be used for client-driven projects. You just have to be brave enough. And use Behance.
Designer Ezster Laki uses her perpetual wanderlust as inspiration for her work. Now *that* I can get behind. #BNConfAMS— Deepa Paul (@currystrumpet) June 20, 2016
Eszter Laki’s presentation at #BNConfAMS shows what wonderful work can be created when you embrace the world beyond your own borders.— Paul Lloyd (@paulrobertlloyd) June 20, 2016
A showcase of graphic empowerment for clients in media, culture, politics, and more through smart ideas and bold executions.
Through a combination of client and personal projects Nikki showed us the option of graphic empowerment in media, culture, politics, and humanity at large. Connecting through graphic design they helped VPRO keep its equity, honor its past, and consider its audience; they breathed new life into the Holland Festival; they helped people reveal their beliefs and stories simply by giving them their own personal flag; and gave a fresh voice to a political party — that had a thrown tomato as a logo. There is never a bad starting point. So go out there and make connections, and instigate conversations that will lead to something.
Nikki Gonnissen on helping people to share their beliefs and politic by designing them flags base on their home. #BNConfAMS— Brand New Conference (@bnconf) June 20, 2016
An energetic exploration on the worlds of business and design colliding, the good and bad that has come of it, and the role we play in shaping the future.
Brian had a lot of questions for us: With clients that think they understand design better than us designers we find ourselves in a bit of a predicament. So what do you do? Are you a well-behaved designer? Do you play differently or do you play nice? Do you notice the things around you? Do you do things like everyone else? Do you want to work in lockstep with others or flex your own design muscles? Is your life, and your work about “Maximum Fucking Love”?
A look at how a foundation in the craft of design has allowed DixonBaxi to work in multiple mediums across a variety of industries, including making a feature film.
Simon and Aporva are guided in part by experience, but mostly by principles. Principles they apply to their office, their team, their clients, and their projects. Principles that develop from the existence from all of the above. A few things that stood out for me where: Be useful to your clients. Work for real people in a real world. Try new things. Be restless. Stay on the outside edge of your comfort zone. Only work with awesome people, that is how you make awesome shit.
An in-depth look at the design of the FRAC Aquitaine identity, preceded by a showcase of her non-identity work that informs her approach and attention to detail.
As an anti-thesis to when in doubt make it big, make it red, and use Helvetica, Fanette showed us the value of experimentation. It’s all about questioning what lies ahead, from the challenge, to the solution, to the medium, and finally the technique. With questions in hand exploration and experimentation is where the magic is to be found. It was through typography that she reminded me that we must not conform. By showing me that every letter can be so much more than the letters tough in kindergarden, and how we should not take them for granted. And we must not forget that the devil is in the details.
A lively conversation touching on life after Wolff Olins, a story of his first-ever client, the power of language, and more — all with a touch of amused wisdom.
It is not about this or that. Us or them. It is not black or white. It is not about colors or typefaces, it is about bonds and relationships. Relationships between designers and like-minded individuals who are out in search of experiences and feelings that create memories and behaviors that are in turn noticed. Bonds between people and those around them, people and the things they care about. Be it products, ideologies, or life in general. Yet it all boils down to one simple question: What the fuck do we know?
‘Brands are a result…. An effect of behaviour.’ - Michael Wolff #BNConfAMS— Reed Words (@reedwords) June 21, 2016
"Is about delivery of experiences / you make a pictures yourself" m.w #BNConfAMS— fcescxavier (@fcescxavier) June 21, 2016
“I don’t like the word client; I prefer to have relationships with likeminded people.” - Michael Wolff at #BNConfAMS— Paul Lloyd (@paulrobertlloyd) June 21, 2016
"Creativity comes from not knowing" m. W #BNConfAMS— fcescxavier (@fcescxavier) June 21, 2016
A range of examples that put the studio’s “strip & tease” approach into play by leaving out as much (or more) as they put in into every thoughtful design.
As designers we are tasked with communicating legibly the messages from our clients. But Karin and Clay challenge this core task on a daily message. They transfer some of the responsibility to the viewers, knowing they have a visual library in their heads that will help them solve puzzles and riddles they are exposed to. By doing this, they engage the viewer and make it personal. By teasing people through design they manage to develop memorable communications. And by having budget constraints they have, in turn, become smarter designers.
"The abstraction of typography is powerful because it triggers your imagination" LesleyMoore #BNConfAMS— Brand New Conference (@bnconf) June 21, 2016
An excellent use of soccer (né futbol) as a metaphor for Mucho’s team structure and playful yet structured approach to design.
If you have an elephant in the room, you should address it right away. Just like Pablo did about his all macho-men club. A clu… I mean, a design firm, driven by a football philosophy and dynamic that I find very intriguing. They obviously get along very well, and they don’t let egos get in the way of the daily game as they toss projects back and forth across borders — fostering foreign students — with no partnership strategy per se, where the main goal is to collaborate. Obviously working tiki-taka-style is something we should all look into, it is no secret that two minds, or six, are better than one.
Pablo Juncadella from @weremucho on working tika taka-style between his partners. #BNConfAMS— Brand New Conference (@bnconf) June 21, 2016
A different point of view from a non-designer on running a design firm, keeping employees and clients happy, while aiming to do meaningful work.
How do you become a CEO of a design agency? You ask for help. How do you grow and maintain a successful firm? You recruit specialists, while creating a collective. You allow everyone to be themselves, encouraging them to become truly unique. Focus on the team, and the communal growth. Have leaders, not bosses. Good work drives you forward, and creates more good work. Make the good work be the motivation for your team, not the financial compensation. Learn from everyone around you. And don’t forget that being human is permanent.
A sobering but entertaining account of the process of designing for large clients with huge audiences and the inevitable public scrutiny while doing the work with aplomb.
From Paul we learned a few things: Do the research, do your due diligence and you can withstand any criticism. When life hands you lemons make lemonade and when the internet hands you a backlash you lash back with great work. Get under the skin of your clients. Don’t just have the C-suite people in the meetings, but as much of the company as possible. If you have to do hundreds of versions of a logo before it gets approved then that’s what you have to do. Give great guidance on what you build. We need to create brands that affect people’s lives.
A thoughtful, insightful, and engaging deconstruction of what branding is and isn’t based on more than twenty years of experience in the matter.
The She-Devil herself, Debbie, delivered more than one spicy tidbit that you either agree with, or completely disagree. It might just have to do with your years in the business. Most clients don’t really understand design, but they feel qualified to judge design. Design is, for the most part, a subjective solution—just look at history. Word definitions vary greatly from human to human. Humans are inherently agile and adaptive. Brands can’t make us happy. Branding is about belonging, connecting with others. And some things are better left alone.
We survived our first long-distance conference in Amsterdam! The logistics of it were daunting but not unachieveable and nothing that a good spreadsheet couldn’t help keep in check. The biggest surprise of the event was how international it was: More than 40 people came from outside Europe, including from countries like Australia, Korea, Israel, Philippines, and United Arab Emirates; more than 230 came from outside of the Netherlands, representing 23 different European countries; and only a quarter of the 400-plus audience was from the Netherlands. It was great to have such a diverse audience and see them all enjoy the event. We are looking forward to coming back again to Amsterdam. And soon. Many thanks to all who attended!
🚨 Speakers are on 🔥 on Day 2 of #BNConfAMS 🚨— Alexander Griffioen (@oscaralexander) June 21, 2016
Plans are in development for coming back to Europe in Spring of 2018 with the current top contender host city of Barcelona.