30th Anniversary Conference

Our 30th anniversary conference on May 20th in Bologna, Italy, was a celebration of friendship, unity and creativity. « Share. Dare. Shine » is our new tagline that was reflected in the extensive programme of the conference, bringing together a variety of experts.  John Glasgow came all the way from New York to present his cutting age agency Vault 49 founded 20 years ago with his business partner Paul Woodvine. Both met in art school in London and got their big break as street artists when they were spotted by Dazed and Confused magazine. « What does it mean to be disruptive? Is it just average in disguise?" asked John Glasgow. "At Vault 49 we have printers, muralists, typographers…

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When we were commissioned by Smirnoff to design a special edition for the Day of the Dead, we took a trip to Mexico to immerse in local traditions. » In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, the company printed bold posters and launched an exchange programme with young people from London to show them the opportunities in the design business. John Glasgow noted that he’s one of the few Black persons to run a design agency and that it’s the responsibility of the industry to attract team members of different roots.  Rebecca McCowan, Central and Eastern European design lead at The Coca Cola Company in Vienna, and Jessica Felby, former global design director at Carlsberg Group in Copenhagen, had an inspiring conversation on how to go « Beyond the pack », or how design encompasses a whole brand experience.

At Carlsberg, Jessica Felby partnered with glass makers and even dishwashing companies to improve the consumer experience. « Instead of considering the creative process as a sprint, why not make it a hike, with twists and turns? » she said. « A quality piece of design is a good investment but it doesn’t happen in a few weeks » added Rebecca McCowan.  In the afternoon, a panel discussion between representatives of Nestlé in the UK, Pacproject in Germany, Esko in Italy, and Stora Enso in Finland, moderated by Uwe Melichar, investigated ways to streamline the value chain of design. Aida Soubra, design operations manager EU for Colgate-Palmolive in Switzerland, got behind the scenes of agency pool management with her tips on how to choose the right design practice. « I’m a headhunter, matchmaker, strategist, coach, shrink, mediator, navigator, and lawyer, she listed.

I intervene between business and creatives. » More insights came from Brazil with a talk from Mathieu Reverte of Team Creatif in Sao Paulo who praised the energy and diversity of the Latin American country, featured in his work for Obrigado coconut water or the Movement of defense of favelas. Laurent Cochini, Managing Director at Sixième Son, Tatiana Ryfer, Design Head Visual Identity at Carrefour and Dario Buzzini, Partner at Italian Design studio BBDB were also among the experts invited to share their experiences. The whole day was skilfully hosted by Sabine Keinborg, CEO of Shortlinks, part of Team Créatif Group.  As usual, our conference was also an opportunity to network and share experiences during breaks and dinners in the old town of Bologna, recognized by Unesco as a Creative City of Music. On Saturday 21th, the participants had the chance to visit the laboratory of a master violin maker and enjoy a guided tour among the portici (arcades).