Created 15 years ago, the ‘Online Flash Film Festival’ – shortened to ‘OFFF’ has evolved into more than simply a festival of short films. Now hosting new, innovative and international speakers from the Design Museum (Museu Del Disseny), the festival celebrates the meeting of creatives from all industries and walks of life.

For the past three years I have travelled every May to Barcelona for OFFF. Rather than bathing in the sunshine with the sea lapping over my toes, I sit in a darkened room watching and listening to all kinds of people speak about their work, what inspires them and what pushes their creativity. More than an average holiday, I come away back home feeling creatively refreshed, full of new ideas and inspiration. Things to do, things to try out and brimming with personal projects I want to get my hands on.

Situated for the past three years in the ‘Museu Del Disseny’, in a trendy district of Barcelona, the museum recently opened itself up to the public and hosts travelling exhibitions as well as permanent exhibits of all shapes and sizes. OFFF itself is no stranger to the design heroes and celebrities of the creative world, with previous speakers such as John Maeda, Neville Brody, Kyle Cooper, Paula Scher, Rick Poynor, Erik Spiekermann, Casey Neistat to name just a few.

This year, the 15th anniversary of OFFF, as with previous years, grows and grows. Market stalls selling design books, prints, cacti, jewelry, polaroid cameras amongst caravans outdoors serving street food just around the corner from the festival sponsors. The goodies on offer included a coffee stand offering free cups to attendees who were prepared to draw them a picture or write a creative note. Opposite the caffeine dispensers Adobe offered Risograph prints from doodles people created on iPad apps. Only to turn around to see Stefan Sagmeister reviewing portfolios. A tattoo studio arrived too, giving ad-hoc tattoos to the more daring attendees. Everything was going on behind the scenes, it’s not simply about the speakers of the festival.

Because I have visited OFFF for the third time in a row, some would ask if the whole thing is getting a little samey, seeing the same people or visiting the same place. But every year, it never fails to surprise intrigue and inspire, even seeing the same speakers a couple of years later. Sagmeister is a prime example. Personally I have seen him speak quite a few times, 5 years ago he spoke about his massive portfolio of work, 3 years ago he spoke of his typographic travels around the world and this year he spoke about design history and where modern design has come from punctuated with real world examples and the trials and tribulations of his own recent work.

I could spend hours writing about the rest of the speakers invited to OFFF but just a handful of the speakers I saw this year were Gavin Strange (aka Jamfactory), GMUNK, Sawdust, Jon Burgerman, Stefan Sagmeister, Pat Perry, Territory, Anton & Irene, Postpanic, Chuck Anderson and Snask. I won’t go into details about what people spoke about as I feel these talks are not best summarised, but listened to and experienced for yourself.

Every year there seems to be similar threads that flow through the talks, this year is no exception with ideas such as simply spending time outside of your normal day job just to create something new, whether that is a personal project or collaborating, it’s about karma, you have to give to receive and more importantly, say yes.

I will be attending OFFF 2016, and it’s shaping up to be a good one already…

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