As I start to write this, randomly, the intro music for Westworld comes on. It’s quite fitting seeing that the guys from Antibody, that created the intro credits for Westworld, spoke at this year’s Semi Permanent. It is so strong, inspiring and makes me so happy; and that’s what Semi Permanent was to me this year.
This year’s theme to Semi was Truth, and that’s exactly what we got from all the speakers, it was beyond refreshing and enlightening.
My jaw was literally on the floor all day. I honestly don’t think I can put into words how inspired and excited I was for day 1. Focusing of the business of creativity, day one had the big names in business and all things tech. AKQUA had the perfect mix of blowing our minds and being pretty scared of the future with a robot that connects through human arms to play a game, with you having no control over what it does . We also heard from the likes of Michael Kobori the Head of sustainability at Levis, who presented what Levis is doing to change the way jeans are manufactured to be more sustainable and better for the environment. Tom Armstrong, VP at the New York times gave us an inspiring talk about how the New York times have moved and grown to keep up with technology and their viewer’s needs. And Sam Keene, who is the AR/VR lead and UX designer at Google gave us a sneak peak into the future of Google maps. To top it all off, the launch party did not disappoint. I had the opportunity to catch up with some Eastern States based design friends and I had an absolute ball meeting other awesome creatives. Day one was a blast and I was excited for the other 2 days left!
Starting off with a bang, a talk from Patrick Clair and Raoul Marks who are the guys behind the title credits for Westworld, Daredevil, True Detective, and American Gods. I’m a TV Junkie, so to say that I was excited was an understatement. Patrick and Raoul went through the process of creating the Westworld title sequence, from the idea generation, through to concept development, and the fact that they created the whole thing in only 4 weeks working nonstop (Raoul says he went a tad insane). It didn’t stop there, we heard from director Michel Gondry via live stream, from his home in the states, who made us 2 short animations live. To watch his design and thought process and have a sneak peek into his chaotic creative space was magical. The guys from SouthSouthWest showed us how your interests outside of design can perhaps cross over. And we finished off the day with Ian Spalter, Head of Design at Instagram, who talked us through the ways Instagram has changed over a short amount of time and what our responsibilities as designers are when dealing with a platform like Instagram.
Semi’s theme of Truth was very apparent on Day 3, right from the start we were confronted with some hard Truths. Daniela Garza, from Anagrama, sadly wouldn’t be joining us as her visa wasn’t approved in time, but she made the effort to live stream to us. Anagrama is my jam so I was super pumped to hear her speak, and she didn’t disappoint. Daniela talked to us about the romance and storytelling of Branding and how at Anagrama, they always try and find that one extra element within a brand to stand out from amongst the other great brands out there. Another truth of the day was that after 2 flight changes and an unanswered door knock in his hometown, David Carson would not be joining us. BUT lucky for us, the extremely cool fellas Freddie and Erik from Snask Sweden saved the day with a hilarious and awesome talk. With their fun and witty character, you can see why they are listed in the top 50 places to work in the world. And then the pièce de résistance, the very skilled (but not talented as she likes to put it) CJ Hendry closed Semi Permanent 2019 with some very real truths. CJ, for me, was a breath of fresh air, she is brutally honest, swears like a sailor and is one of the most hard-working creatives out there. For me, hearing her speak was honestly a relief. She spoke about how she doesn’t have a ‘work-life balance’ as to her, she loves what she does so she doesn’t see it as work. She also talked about her learning experience/some of the mistakes she has made along the way and how she has learned from them and her love/hate relationship with Instagram. She was the perfect way to wrap up Semi Permanent 2019
I’ve just moved to Melbourne from Perth, and out West, we don’t get many design-inspired major talks like Semi and it can sometimes feel like WA misses out on a lot. I have only dreamt of going to conferences such as Semi and never really thought it could become a reality (Perth to Sydney is a long way to go for a conference!). I have been a part of TDK for some years and used to be a host for Perth and have been a huge supporter of what Frankie and her team do, so going to Semi meant a lot to me. It was, in fact, everything I hoped it would be and more. A HUGE thank you to The Design Kids. Hanging with you at Semi, honestly made it so much more special to me. I went to Semi Permanent not knowing many people and feeling a little overwhelmed by it all, but after 3 days I left with new friends and probably the most inspired and eager I have ever been. If I was to take one thing from my Semi experience it would be, to just be yourself. Truth and honesty are king, you will be valued more as a designer and as a human if you’re honest!