Birmingham Design Festival 2019

We left at the crack of dawn for a day filled of inspiration and we were excited to see and hear the talks of some of our personal design heroes.

Only running in its second year, the Birmingham Design Festival brings together some of the world’s most celebrated designers. This year’s workshops, seminars and talks were dedicated to the overarching theme of ‘Truth’.

Nick Asbury – The Truth about what Writers think of Designers

We kicked of the day with Nick Asbury’s fun and entertaining talk “The truth about what writers think of designers”. He specialises in writing for branding and large design projects as has worked with major agencies. One of his most notably projects include the Cambridge University fundraising project on which he worked with creative studio Johnson Banks.

Joining forces with designers on a project is all about the timing. It’s important to make the writer a part of the project and not just bring them in at the last minute. A writer’s ideas can have a big impact on shaping the visual concepts. We deeply admire the skills and abilities of great writers and Nick seems to think similar about designers: “Designers are gatekeepers of a magic portal into the visual and symbolic world, and writers (and clients) are secretly in awe of your mysterious wizardry.”

Chappell Ellison – Too much damn Content

Chappell’s talk topic ‘Too much damn Content’ really resonated with us. There is more content out there than all human beings together could consume in their lifetime and we’re adding to it every single second.

Chappell is a content strategist with New York-based digital agency Huge. In a world were businesses and entrepreneurs feel pressured into producing content to keep digital platforms fed, Chappell gave us permission to ease off. Her presentation was a plea to produce less, but more relevant and meaningful content.

We left this talk feeling much lighter.

Chris Do – Pricing Design Work and Creativity

We’ve been following Chris and his education business for creatives The Futur for quite some time and have been to one of his workshops before. He is passionate about teaching creatives to be confident in pricing their creative work.

In his workshop we got down to the nitty gritty. Instead of just talking about value pricing creative work, he got us to properly crunch numbers to see how designers and clients benefit form value pricing. He also taught us conversation tactics should clients object to project costs. His enthusiasm is infectious. We left the workshop feeling a few inches taller.

Michael Johnson – How to keep having great Ideas

He is one of the greats and his talk was the highlight of our day. Michael Johnson has run his design agency Johnson Banks in London for over 26 years, producing stunning work for non-profit organisations, charities and educational institutions. Needless to say, he’s seen it all!

In his talk he took a few leaves out of his new book Now Try Something Weirder and told us stories and anecdotes about his live as creative, client collaboration, design ideas gone wrong, successes and pushing your creativity as hard as you can. A signed copy of his book is a now treasured possession of Studio Brand Up and we can’t wait to meet him again in London for his branding masterclass with the D&AD.

About Franzi Scheithauer

Franzi is Creative Director at Studio Brand Up and specialises in brand strategy and identity design.