Last week the creative and studio teams at RLA dusted off their pork pie hats, grabbed their moustache wax and Air Max’s and travelled to Shoreditch for this years D&AD Festival.
A three-day programme of workshops talks from industry leaders, expert panels and award-winning work, the festival is now in its third year with RLA having attended for the last two.
We spoke to some of the creative team at RLA to get their take on the new ideas and noteworthy work on display at the show.
Scott Marlow / Senior Designer
CGI and VFX are my jam. So I was drawn initially drawn to this years D&AD Festival by one thing – “Blade Runner 2049: Building a new world” a talk given by Paul Inglis (Supervising Art Director) and David Sheldon-Hicks (Founder and Executive Creative Director at Territory Studio – the industry-leading CGI and VFX house).
Sadly, Paul Inglis wasn’t able to make it, with Hicks apologising on his behalf that he was “Busy elsewhere, with lightsabers”. If you’re going to have an excuse, I suppose making Star Wars Episode 9 is as cool a one as I can think of.
Though I’d seen Hick’s talk once before at another event, his talk was still revealing and a real insight into the creative process behind some really beautiful work. I use After Effects every day and am blown away by what his team at Territory create.
Seeing the internal briefs his team receive also provided some really great insights into process. Pushed by Director Denis Villeneuve, they photographed, scanned, destroyed and re-photographed items to create the ‘lived in’ world you see and feel in BR2049 – and it’s all the better for it.
My main outtakes from the talk were: Step away from the computer. Breakaway from your normal practises. Question your process. We don’t all work with multi-million dollar budgets, but it’s still advice we can all learn from.
James Coogan / Digital Designer
Following a slightly frustrating experience at last year’s D&AD (the awards and work display rooms were closed on the day I was there) I had high hopes for 2018.
The queue meant it took us about an hour to get in (the complimentary Pop Chips softened the blow), but once inside we went straight to Kit Altin’s talk on how to be more persuasive in advertising. On a packed Toolbox Stage, Kit talked the audience through Aristotle’s “Modes of Persuasion”, and discussed how brands can apply this to advertising.
The ‘modes’ are divided into Pathos (an appeal to the audience’s emotion), Ethos (demonstrating the credibility of the presenter) and Logos (claims made through logic and facts). Kit then took us through some classic and modern ads, discussing as a group how much and in what combination of each of the three ‘modes’ the ads were using.
Maybe unsurprisingly, IPA studies tend to suggest emotional appeals (Pathos) are the most powerful of the three, grabbing attention and triumphing over authority and logic (think of a John Lewis campaign).
It was a fascinating talk and one that really made us think about how we position our work. We hope to use what we learnt as a framework to create even more persuasive campaigns going forward.
Andy Orritt / Studio Manager
Aside from the award-winning creative work and guests that are expected at the D&AD Festival, tech and software seemed to have a stronger focus this year.
Microsoft and Adobe sponsored the festival and were front and centre – quite literally. Microsoft had you tripping over Surface Studios as you walked through the entrance hall, while Adobe staged, what seemed like, a rolling workshop, focusing primarily on XD.
The Surface Studio certainly looks very impressive, particularly the drawing tools, but I can’t see it working that well when putting layouts together in InDesign or XD (without an incredibly steep learning curve).
The rest of the tech on show ranged from gesture-controlled cars, collaborative digital sketches, to an Augmented Reality game called Tosser, that gave you the opportunity to throw Donald Trump around the Oval Office while fragments of his many speeches blared out of the headphones. Which was all very cathartic, though I’m not sure where it fits into D&AD’s mission to promote creative excellence.
Jack Davey / Senior Art Director
For me, the D&AD Festival is one of the highlights of the year when it comes to the creative industries, and this year’s show was no different. VR seemed to be being heavily pushed as the ‘technology du jour’, with about 8 of the 12 smaller displays focusing solely on the technology. And whilst the D&AD Award-winning work was fantastic to see – the talks were what I was really here for.
Kit Altin’s talk on Persuasion in the morning was fantastic (see James’ comments above) and provided us with some practical tools we can start using in creative reviews, but the main act was always going to be Dave ‘Couldn’t Talk Straighter If He Tried’ Trott.
During Trott’s (highly quotable, sage-pearl-of-wisdom packed) talk, he discussed the little tricks (or ‘weasels’ as he’d call them) that he had used during his career to ensure his sometimes controversial, occasionally contentious and often truth-stretching ads made it out the door intact.
The talk, titled “How to do what you are not allowed to do” encouraged the packed audience of creatives to take a leaf from his book, and find wily, unconventional ways to make their own creative ideas survive client and committee reviews. He brilliantly summed up his talk by reassuring the audience that getting in trouble for boundary-pushing work wasn’t the worst thing in the world, saying “You’re supposed to get in trouble, you’re supposed to get banned. Controversy is a currency. This is advertising, this isn’t for shy people. If you want to be boring, go and collect stamps.”
Overall, despite the festival still finding its feet in many ways (changing the layout and structure of the festival quite significantly compared to the previous year), the creative and studio teams at RLA got a huge amount out of the festival, and are already eagerly looking forward to returning in 2019.