This year we went to our first ever Graphika Manila! We weren’t sure what to expect, but we came armed with our wits about us and wallets full of business cards.

Aside from the presentations, the conference ticket comes with quite a haul. These are a few of the goodies that came in the conference kit, but the best part of the conference was really the talks. There was a really great lineup of speakers this year, we’re listing our favorites here in no particular order:

Tosh Kodama from Imaginary Forces – We really appreciated how he spoke about the ups and downs of pitching for a client. We don’t think it’s talked about enough, the mental and emotional toll collaboration takes, but also the big rewards that come to fruition. Thanks for walking us through it, Tosh!

Matthew Encina from Blind – We really enjoyed this talk, particularly because Matthew was so relatable and accessible! He had some choice GIFs in his presentation. Matthew spoke a bit about pitching to big clients, which is something we haven’t had much chance to do in our short career (and i’m fairly certain i’d wet my pants doing it if it ever came to -SD). Their projects were REALLY impressive too. We were glad to hear him talk about his learning curve, and learning to articulate his workflow in order to teach others. That’s some good stuff.

Timothy Goodman – His presentation was by far the most memorable. Timothy spoke not just about his artistic and creative process, but also his emotional journey. Whatever the field you work in, his struggles and development were relatable because they touched on something very human. And that really emanates from his work and his very honest aesthetic: coarse, unrefined execution, but fully realized in concept.

Gemma O’Brien – As a fan of type, this talk really got our goggles. WE LOVE LOOKING AT THIS LADY’S WORK. She let us in on a bit of her process and work situation, We really liked how she’s so much more interested in doing things manually or traditionally rather than on the computer. Her ideas about this drive industrially to “craft authenticity” (vs “authentic craft”) were really insightful too. We really wish we could have seen more about how she comes up with ideas and translates them, though!

And of course Val Chua, who was one of the only women AND one of the few Filipinos. She also seemed to be the only painter! Her work is gorgeous and her demeanor is so sweet. I’m glad she shared what she did with us.

Those were our favorites, but there were so many other great speakers too! We’d definitely recommend that people visit this conference when they can, there’s a lot to learn from it! And the organizers were great too – the event was very well-managed and streamlined. Can’t wait for next year!

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