25 Feb BACKSTAGE (AND ON STAGE) AT DESIGN INDABA 2016
Let us begin by saying that we are HUGE fans of Design Indaba (DI).
We love what the brand stands for; we love how ambitious and inspired you feel every time (yes, every single time) you leave the conference; and we love the array of speakers that are on offer each year (in fact, it was this talk by Stefan Sagmeister, that we originally saw at the 2014 DI conference, that inspired us to quit it all and travel the world).
So yes, we are huge fans of Design Indaba.
We’ve been attending the conference for many years – this was normally a reward from our agencies, meaning that if we did good work, we’d have the opportunity to fly down to beautiful Cape Town for the world’s biggest design-focused event.
But this year was a little different.
The 2016 DI conference was different for us, because we weren’t attending as visitors, hungry to sponge all the inspirational stories that were on offer. Yes, we’d be doing a lot of sponging, but we’d be attending as speakers, meaning it would be our job to supply the 5000-strong crowd (1500 in-house and 3500 over simulcast) with the inspirational stories to sponge. Crazy, right?
I mean, if you told us a few years ago that we’d be speaking at the 21st DI conference, we probably would’ve laughed and said, “Are you joking?! That status is only reserved for the industry’s best creative minds!” And yet, as our How Far From Home story sort of began at the 2014 conference after hearing Mr Sagmeister speak about the power of time off, we returned this year (with Mr Sagmeister on video during our talk) to inspire everyone attending to seriously soak everything up, because hey, it may actually change their life – like it did ours.
As always, the event was a visual masterpiece – decorated and transformed to leave every attendee feeling pumped and ready to change the world for the better. As speakers, we were lucky enough to enjoy time on-, in-front-of-, and back-stage, viewing the mammoth event in its entirety. We wined and dined with some of the world’s most genius creatives and highly acclaimed South African superstars; we rode the waves of the Atlantic Ocean on a catamaran, ate five-course meals at michelin-star-quality restaurants, partied in presidential suites, and enjoyed 5-star luxury at premium hotels, gorgeous wine farms, and personalised chauffeur-driven Mercs. Let’s just say, the week at #DI2016 was the most luxurious week we’ve had on our journey…nay, ever.
But it wasn’t the glamorous treatment that left us feeling rejuvenated. Our journey has taught us to enjoy each experience, no matter how much or how little we get. For us, the highlight was sharing our story with some of South Africa’s freshest minds, showing them that anyone can follow their dream, and that you only need creativity to get you there. Yes, it was great to have an indoor heated pool (slightly different from the chilly waters of the Arctic) but being part of the conference this year meant that we could encourage everyone listening to stop and question everything, and go against society if it felt like that’s what they needed to do. Our main message was one of bravery – getting people to have the courage to act on their ideas, and for this opportunity, we are eternally grateful to Ravi and his team.
For anyone that missed our talk and would like to see it, we’ve been told it will be available on the Design Indaba website sometime in the next few months, so we’ll keep you posted and share the link as soon as it’s available!