• Img_0529

    The audience at Here 2013 (Photo by Cat Garcia)


Here 2013: A look back at our creative symposium held in London recently

Posted by Rob Alderson,

Our annual creative symposium Here took place in London last week, with some 600 delegates packing into The Royal Geographical Society for a fun-filled, fast-paced day of insight and inspiration from our eclectic line-up of speakers

  • Img_0005

    Laurie Pressman at Pantone kicks off Here 2013 (Photo by Cat Garcia)

  • Img_0042

    Wayne Hemingway talking about the problem with recreational play areas (Photo by Cat Garcia)

  • Img_0085

    Es Devlin’s talk at Here 2013 (Photo by Cat Garcia)

  • Img_0132

    Stuart Wood of rAndom International talks us through Rain Room (Photo by Cat Garcia)

  • Img_0166

    Kate Moross rounds off the first session (Photo by Cat Garcia)

After a quick intro from It’s Nice That directors Will Hudson and Alex Bec, we were straight down to business with Laurie Pressman from our event partner Pantone. Laurie interwove a socio-cultural history of the last 50 years with its accompanying shifts in colour trends, touching on everything from John Travolta to the rise of Starbucks. She also looked to the future and how the merging of east and west and the rise of nano technology might shape of palette preferences.

She was followed by Wayne Hemingway, who gave us a quintessentially British and marvellously inspirational insight into his career and how he thinks designers have the right – and indeed the duty – to change the world. Hemingway Design’s philosophy is, he said, “about improving things that matter in life.” After Wayne, theatre designer Es Devlin gave us a superb look at her recent projects from Rhianna and Danish theatre to the 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony. She spoke about the mindshifts required to move between each and explored how the idea of imagination manifests itself in the Google-dominated age.

After Es, Stuart Wood of rAndom International took us through his studio’s extraordinary projects and related how he balances the software engineer inside him with the artist; that crucial 1% that makes something that works something that feels right. Culminating in the triumphant Rain Room, he also looked at how the participation of the audience is an increasingly crucial part of their work.

Rounding off the first session, the brilliant Kate Moross gave us a bombastic pep-talk, based on her own experiences, about unleashing our creative potential. Tearing down the idea of barriers and celebrating the era of DIY (defined by our ability to hack) she talked about how simplicity, speed and the ability to bullshit have driven some fantastic projects.

  • Img_0364

    Mark Porter kicks off session two talking about his work on The Guardian redesign (Photo by Cat Garcia)

  • Img_0402

    Sarah Illenberger takes the stage at Here 2013 (Photo by Cat Garcia)

  • Img_0419

    Oscar and Nicolas from Canada and their treasure island approach to music video making (Photo by Cat Garcia)

  • Img_0435

    Nelly Ben Hayoun ended session two with a real showstopper of a talk (Photo by Cat Garcia)

The second session saw bombarded once again with wit and wisdom from five amazing speakers.

First up Mark Porter tried to unpick what he calls the “fetishization of creativity,” heralding the value of research, analytical thinking and making a case for your work. Concentrating in-depth on his redesign of The Guardian, Mark shared his priorities for good editorial design; in order – accessibility, engagement, personality and beauty/style. After Mark, Berlin-based 3D illustrator Sarah Illenberger took us through her creative journey, with a refreshing focus on some work that didn’t come off as well as her many successes.

Next up Oscar and Nicholas of the Canada directors’ collective walked us through their latest project; a music video for French band Phoenix. From initial ideas through emails, the treatment and the final (as yet unreleased) piece, the guys gave us a real insight into how the music video process really plays out.

Rounding off the session with a real tour de force of a talk, the inimitable Nelly Ben Hayoun presented a whirlwind tour of her remarkable relationship with science, including making dark matter in her kitchen and building mini volcanoes in her lounge. She ended by looking at her International Space Orchestra, an amazing project she basically bullied NASA into agreeing to, with spectacular results.

  • Img_0512

    Adam Buxton explores his Garage Band prowess at Here 2013 (Photo by Cat Garcia)

  • Img_0559

    Illustrator Andy Rementer takes us through some of his projects (Photo by Cat Garcia)

  • Img_0564

    Rafel Rozendaal shows off some of his great online work (Photo by Cat Garcia)

  • Img_0587-2

    Erik Kessels brought the day to an excellent close (Photo by Cat Garcia)

The last session of Here 2013 had a tough act to follow, but it delivered and then some. How to describe Adam Buxton’s appearance? You kind of had to be there, but suffice to say while others talked about creativity, Adam actually invited us in to his creative process, harnessing the power of Garage Band to create a brand new song and giving us a sneak peek into David Bowie’s world.

After Adam, Andy Rementer took to the stage and gave us a really insightful look at how he develops his tone of voice through his illustrations, and how personal projects like Techno Tuesday have honed his style which he can now reapply in various editorial and commercial contexts. That idea of recontextualistaion was picked up on by our next speaker Rafael Rozendaal, who explained why he was driven to create work that exists online, how that translates into real world and latterly advertising contexts and the diffculties of describing his work to gallerists and collectors.

The day was brought to a brilliant close by Erik Kessels of KesselsKramer. Declaring his hatred of advertising, Erik showed how great ideas can blur boundaries between strong and non-design and big and tiny budgets. Using his books of found photos as examples, Erik also proved the importance of seeking inspiration in unlikely places.

A huge thanks to all our speakers, to our event partner Pantone and our sponsors the London Graphic Centre, GFSmith, Fontsmith and Mill+, our print sponsor Park and our media partner We Transfer. Thanks as well to our contributors, to Jim Stoten, Photobot and Tattly.

  • Img_0187

    The Here crowd enjoying the outdoor space (Photo by Cat Garcia)

  • Img_0487

    Photobot, the robotic photobooth was a huge hit once again (Photo by Cat Garcia)

  • Phimg_7269

    A delegate signs up to win the Foffa bike courtesy of WeTransfer (Photo by Pharoah)

  • Phimg_7506

    The Pantone table tennis table (Photo by Pharoah)

  • Img_9807

    Here goodie bags await the delegates (Photo by Cat Garcia)


Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Events View Archive

  1. Elcaf-int-list

    The East London Comics and Arts Festival (ELCAF) has just announced its 2015 dates, and after the storming success of last year this year it’s doubling up! Not only is the one day extravaganza growing to fill a full weekend across 20 and 21 June, but it’s also going to be filling two different venues with its trademark workshops and talks, and a new series of masterclasses held in collaboration with the House of Illustration.

  2. Offset-2-int-list

    Dublin’s terrific creative festival OFFSET is back this weekend and having now confirmed the full line-up, 2105 looks set to be another cracking three days of creative inspiration.

  3. Iam2015-bluebaby-cover-list

    We’ve long trumpeted the exciting, eclectic creative scene in Barcelona and now a new event talking place in March will harness this energy with an array of international speakers. The Internet Age Media, or IAM Weekend, promises to connect “the ecosystem that is shaping the future of design, fashion, technology, visual arts and music, from a media perspective.”

  4. List

    Dublin’s OFFSET festival is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the creative conference calendar, and early indications suggest that 2015 is all set to be another cracker (or craic-er, if you will). For three days in March the Irish capital is taken over by a brilliant line-up of art and design speakers (and a fair bit of socialising) and we’re looking forward to going back this year for another hefty dose of inspiration and enlightenment.

  5. List

    When we post work on It’s Nice That we don’t really know what that can lead to, but it’s always terrific to hear that creative collaborations have sprung from an article on the site. It’s even more terrific to hear of a coming together like this between Wild Beasts and animator and illustrator Mattis Dovier as part of The Jameson Works.

  6. List

    Last month we held an evening of talks at Mother London to showcase some of our favourite creative projects made possible through crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Since it launched in 2009, it’s no exaggeration to say the organisation has changed the way the creative world works and it was great to hear from some of those who had made the most of the new opportunities Kickstarter offers.

  7. Main1

    Just over a week ago It’s Nice That’s Jamie McIntyre and I took a train from London to Glasgow to the much-antiticipated Graphic Design Festival Scotland. We had been invited by Beth Wilson and James Gilchrist, two students who had recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art. During their degree the two had found themselves working best when together, and decided to form Warriors Studio as a duo. They began thinking about the climate of graphic design in Scotland, the need for something new and exciting and – most importantly – what the hell they were going to do when term ends and they were turfed out to fend for themselves.

  8. List

    The House of Peroni is back and as bold as ever, this time celebrating the dizzying cultural diversity of Rome, the birth place of Peroni Nastro Azzurro. Combining the worlds of food, drink, design and film, contemporary Rome has been brought to London for one month only via a transformed townhouse; a four-storey exploration of how Rome’s rich heritage is being interpreted by a new wave of creative talent in Italy.

  9. Kickstarter_list_image

    Few things fundamentally change the way the creative world works, which makes the rise and rise of crowdfunding site Kickstarter all the more remarkable. Now five years in, it’s one of those brands that’s become a verb and “to Kickstarter” is an increasingly common way of launching a project.

  10. List

    Back in the spring, The House of Peroni took over a central London townhouse with a celebration of the retro 1960s inspired creativity which so influenced Peroni’s founders. Next month it’s back and this time around it will be a feast of food, drink, art, design and fashion that reflects the cultural diversity of Rome.

  11. List

    As one of the most fundamental visual tools, creatives use colour in a multitude of ways. It’s Nice That is excited to be partnering with G . F Smith for three evenings exploring how an eclectic mix of visual practitioners think about colour and harness its power. They will take place across the UK and each evening will also feature an exclusive screening of the Colorplan film Bright Red. The exciting line-ups we have helped curate for the events are:

  12. List

    An elegant townhouse in central London has been transformed into a multi-storey, multi-sensory celebration of Italian style and culture. The House of Peroni, which opened last night, boasts a host of retro-inspired creativity – inspired by 1963, the year Peroni Nastro Azzurro was launched – and it brings to life a stylised version of la dolce vita.

  13. Main

    I love Pick Me Up, especially the private view. Fine cheese, meats, booze and the best illustration and graphic arts you can hope for under one roof. In its fifth year the festival seems to have graduated from being a trade fair at which members of the public could by prints and knick knacks they wanted to hang in their kitchen, to being a place that celebrates the true craft of the world’s youngest and most talented artists.