Reasons to be Creative conference: a designer’s perspective

A group of Computerlovers recently headed down to Brighton for the three-day Reasons to be Creative conference.

Designer Luke talks us through his experience there, and how the work of creative duo Royal Bandit and games company State of Play has inspired him.

Going the long way round

Us digital designers naturally spend a lot of time sat behind our laptops, crafting and colouring in pixels. The tools that we use, such as Photoshop, allow us to easily express our thoughts and ideas: we can transform 2D into 3D, we can make things that look real, that move…

But I’ve often thought that we’re sometimes a little too reliant on computers and software. What if, rather than taking the quickest or most obvious route to a solution, we were to go the long way around? There were two speakers at ‘Reasons…’ this year which really embodied this idea.

Royal Bandit

Royal Bandit (a.k.a. Eve Duhamel and Julien Vallée) created the title sequence for this years’ event and have worked with a great range of clients such as Google, Nokia, Coca-Cola and MTV.

Rather than diving straight from sketchbook into Photoshop, Eve and Julien often wander into their workshop and break out the paper, wood, mirrors and paint and begin to physically build their idea.

Some may look at Royal Bandit’s work and say that it could have been made using Photoshop or 3D software, and think that building the composition with physical materials was a long, hard way of doing things. But I believe that by approaching their ideas like this, Eve and Julien are able to create something truly special — plus their work contains lots of small details that would actually take considerable time to recreate digitally.

Lumino City

Luke Whittaker, founder of indie games company State of Play, was another speaker at ‘Reasons…’ who’s embraced the idea of going the long way around. Luke worked on the Lume game, which was released in 2011.

The game puts you in the shoes of Lumi, a young inquisitive girl that has to solve the mystery of where her granddad has gone and why the power in the house has turned off. What is so great about Lume is that it’s almost entirely made out of paper, card and dolls house furniture: the game has tons of character and a really distinct and playful look and feel.

Luke also revealed the latest game that his studio are working on: ‘Lumino City’, a much more ambitious follow up to Lume. The scale of Lumino City really was jaw dropping, especially when you consider the amount of detail that goes into each element of the game. There are no corners cut and no compromises made: the buildings, machinery and settings are all built painstakingly by hand. The result is a game which feels truly unique, and the love and passion that has gone into creating this little tactile world really shows — I can’t wait to play it.

A soulful approach

Both Royal Bandit and Luke Whittaker could have produced their work using only digital tools, but I wouldn’t even like to think about how many hours you would have to spend pixel pushing to achieve exactly the same results. By going the long way around they have created work which has soul, and where the little blemishes and imperfections actually add to the character of their work.

Going the long way around might not be easy, it might not be quick, and it isn’t always the right thing to do — but sometimes it’s exactly what’s needed.

So when you’re starting your next project, before diving straight for the tools that are tried and tested — the tools that you’re comfortable with — think about going the long way around and exploring some unfamiliar territory. I know I will.