Thursday, November 24, 2011

Semi-Permanent Perth 2011 - A design conference with beer!

It's not at many conferences that you can enjoy an alcoholic beverage* whilst listening to the speakers but this typifies the relaxed atmosphere of Semi-Permanent Perth - where speakers present with a hangover (remarkably well, considering!) and our books don't quite make it on time (I finally got mine 2 months later!).

I'm not sure why Semi-Permanent extends its conference tour to Perth but I'm glad they do. I can only assume it's more of a franchise with Semi Permanent lending the name and a few speakers and Artrage/Bakery doing the the rest. I've been to the conference in Sydney and it's a slick 2 day affair to an audience of hundreds, unlike the Perth event! It's nice to be able to see speakers in a more intimate setting though and helps Perth feel not so forgotten by the eastern states. I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to go to a design conference in my own city for once. Yay, no airfares!

We had a rather dapper MC with a self-proclaimed "pleasing baritone" (who was that guy?) and after a few technical issues, the conference was underway.

The first speakers were Sonja and John from Nude Design Studio, based in Perth. They have been producing their minimal contemporary designs for about 3 years and had some valuable tips about alternatives to using stock photos and some legal 'advice'. They seemed disappointed that in their first year, they barely made $28000 but when I found out they did this while travelling the world and working on a mini laptop, I was impressed!

For Sydneysiders, Morten & Daniel of Supervixen seemed awfully nice! And they actually got through their presentation in the allocated time, which they said was a first. Well done! They both started out in motion graphics by learning on the go and believe that mistakes don't have to be failures, they are just another part of learning. I was quite excited to find out they developed the cute food characters on the Wrigley's ad! I love that doughnut! :)

Next came Gemma O'Brien, an ebullient & passionate type enthusiast. She shares her love of type through her blog which amazingly enabled her to be invited to speak at a design conference in Berlin as a 2nd year design student - wow! She just loves type!

Ken Taylor, a Perth-born, Melbourne-based illustrator was the 4th speaker. I've seen him speak before but he is such a talented illustrator, I'm not complaining! He shared a glimpse of his working technique which is always interesting to see.

Lastly, Brendan Savage from Fuel VFX told us about how he was 'living the dream' getting to work on big movies including a lot of Marvel Comics movies and a prequel to the 'Aliens' movies. Although it was potentially financially very risky with the company not being paid for their work they did for pitches, even though they could spend weeks on it. But without doing a pitch, they would never get the job.

Overall, it was an interesting day, surprisingly not as well attended as last year's conference (maybe due to their lack of a 'big name' international presenter). Thanks to all the speakers and organisers and I look forward to next year's conference! 

* They did wait til 12:30 to open the bar...

P.S. It is a few months since the conference but I have been so busy, I've only just had a chance to post this!