Offset. Is it worth going to?
First of all if you haven’t a notion what Offset is I’ll fill you in.
It is a three day creative and educational conference held in Dublin each year since 2009. The conference takes over the Bord Gáis Theatre and immerses the whole building in art, photography, design and pretty much anything and everything that will get your creative juices flowing.
They have attracted some superstar speakers to the event from illustrator Tomi Ungerer, designer David Carson, to street artist Shepard Fairey, everyone’s tastes are catered for throughout the weekend. What makes the weekend special is there are no “VIP” areas, the speakers wander around with the punters giving you the chance to speak to them and get a picture or two.
As you enter the venue you’re greeted with a fantastic goodie tote bag, the previous years it’s been filled with notepads, business cards, vouchers and a magazine called “Ways and Means” containing information about all the guest speakers and their work. For the rest of the weekend planning who you want to see is pivotal and doing a little background research on some designers you might not be familiar with prior is a must. If you want to stretch your legs between talks, you can attend workshops; dabble at some screenprinting, mingle amongst peers or most importantly grab a coffee.
So, why am I questioning if it’s worth going?
When I was in college especially people questioned spending around €120 for the weekend to attend. They said it was "steep" or “crazy money” considering I was a student. Many other students didn’t take the opportunity to go and were closed off to the idea of going for some reason or another. As a student especially you should be encouraged to attend design events, seeing people who work in industry on such a level is both scary and inspiring.
The student price is especially reasonable considering it’s a three day event, it’s like any other festival you pay to go to for three days. There are early bird tickets for students, graduates, and professionals (Early bird professional is €195). Offset even plan after parties on the Friday night for you and other attendees to socialise together, these are usually sponsored by brands like Guinness and Absolut so it’s not all education and no party.
There are day tickets available also nearer the time if you want to dip your toe in the experience before diving in. Some speakers have been announced already for next years Offset, which will be held in the Bord Gáis Theatre from 17th-19th of February 2017. I suggest you get your hands on tickets soon.