1971- Design Space X ING


Date: Saturday 23 Jan, 2016 - Saturday 23 Jan, 2016
Time: 11:00 am - 07:00 pm
Venue: 1971 - Design Space, The Flag Island, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, United Arab Emirates

A creative conference examining contemporary heritage, organised by 1971 – Design Space and ING, gathering regional and international professionals from various specialisations in the creative industry to discuss what heritage is and what their views are on implementing it within their work.

The day's action-packed agenda starts at 12:00pm, offering a range of interesting and diverse perspectives on the topic of cultural heritage.

Austrian graphic designer and illustrator Verena Michelitsch will first give a thirty-minute talk on “Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge”.

Following directly after Michelitsch will be Nev McDuffie, who will present on the topic of "Finding Balance”.

After the break, next up will be a Creative Panel about contemporary heritage in design wit Majid Al Yousef, Nuno Abreu, and Tanita Sandhu and moderated by Hadeyeh Badri, followed by a thirty-minute talk on “The rise of hand lettering in the digital age” by Australian artist and designer Gemma O’brien.

After the talks and discussions the guests will get a chance to sign up to have their design portfolios reviewed by professionals from well-regarded design agencies. The reviewers are Benjamin Schwartz from OgilvyOne , Sarah Guessoum from JWT, Carla Conte from Brand Creative and Nuno Alves from Landor.

Finally, speakers will move into conducting workshops on “A playful type” with Verena Michelitsch, “Hand lettering” with Gemma O’Brien, and “Painting letters: taking your work from paper to a wall” with Nev.



11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Registration 

12:00 p.m. to 12:10 p.m. Introduction

12:10 p.m. to 12:40 p.m. Talk: “Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge” by Verena Michelitsch 

12:40 p.m. to 01:10 p.m. Talk: “Finding Balance” by Nev McDuffie 

01:10 p.m. to 02:00 p.m. Break

02:00 p.m. to 03:00 p.m. Creative Panel

Panelists: Majid Al Yousef, Nuno Abreu, and Tanita Sandhu

Moderated by:  Hadeyeh Badri

03:00 p.m. to 03:30 p.m. Talk: “The rise of hand lettering in the digital age” by Gemma O’Brien

03:30 p.m. to 04:30 p.m. Networking + Portfolio Reviews

04:30 p.m. to 07:30 p.m. Workshop: “A playful type” by Verena Michelitsch

04:30 p.m. to 07:30 p.m. Workshop: “Hand lettering” by Gemma O’Brien

04:30 p.m. to 07:30 p.m. Workshop: “Painting letters: taking your work from paper to a wall” by Nev McDuffie


Speaker 1:

Speaker: Verena Michelitsch

Title: Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge

Bio: Verena Michelitsch an Austrian graphic designer and illustrator, living and working in NYC. After being an Art Director and founding member of En Garde, a design studio based in Graz, she moved to NYC to work for Sagmeister & Walsh, Pentagram and RoAndCo. She is Design Director at Sid Lee NY and recently started an online magazine dedicated to the beauty of sleep, called Sand and Such.


Speaker 2:

Speaker: Nev McDuffie

Title: Finding Balance

Bio: Nev is a multidisciplinary artist and designer who specializes in branding and has a flare for painting letters. He grew up in Atlanta, GA and spent the majority of his youth as a graffiti artist. In 2010 he moved to Brooklyn, NY and started No Entry Design. The majority of work he produces is with local businesses around the New York City area but he has also produced work for clients in other parts of the country. He travels extensively and pulls in inspiration from the places he visits and people he meets along the way.


Speaker 3:

Speaker: Gemma O’brien

Title: The rise of hand lettering in the digital age

Bio: Gemma is a typographer and illustrator based in Sydney working primarily with hand-drawn lettering, custom typography, illustration and art direction for motion graphics. After working in design and art direction at Animal Logic, Toby and Pete and Fuel VFX she is represented by The Jacky Winter Group focusing on Typography and illustration.


Panel Discussion:

Panelists: Majid Al Yousef, Nuno Abreu, and Tanita Sandhu

Moderator: Hadeyeh Badri


Networking + Portfolio Reviews:


Benjamin Schwartz / OgilvyOne

Sarah Guessoum / JWT

Carla Conte / Brand Creative

Nuno Alves / Landor

Brief: Creatives sharpen their skills through one-on-one feedback from international speakers, local industry leaders from top agencies, and senior creatives.


Workshop 1:

Given by: Verena Michelitsch

Title: Stop designing and start playing. A playful type workshop / Creating Compositions on grids.

Brief: Through geometric grids the participants will explore letters, shapes and symbols. In this workshop the participants will work highly analogue and improvised, putting emphasis on the joy of creating something with our hands.


Workshop 2:

Given by: Gemma O’Brien

Title: Hand lettering

Brief: Gemma O’Brien will give participants insight into the hand-drawn processes she uses to create unique lettering pieces. Hand-lettering is an invaluable tool for designers today that allows flexibility, freedom, customisation that often is inhibited by working solely with fonts in a digital space. This class will give an overview of the differences between writing, lettering and typography before moving into a series of short exercises to demonstrate key principles of letter construction, rhythm, contrast, composition, balance and techniques of letter customisation (swashes, flourishes, decoration). Using calligraphic principles as a starting point participants will spend the second part of the day conceptualising, drawing and refining a custom piece of hand-lettering under Gemma’s instruction.


Workshop 3:

Given by: Nev McDuffie

Title: Painting letters: taking your work from paper to a wall

Brief: this workshop will discuss and experiment with a variety of techniques to painting letters both large and small. It will briefly cover everything from transferring your graphic onto the surface to adding texture to your final piece to give it a distressed look. There are always complications when it comes to painting different surfaces and it's not as simple as just projecting a graphic and tracing it up.



  • Full event ticket without workshops                     – AED 250
  • Full event ticket without workshops “students”   – AED 125
  • Workshop ticket                                                   – AED 350


To purchase your ticket online please visit: https://presella.com/ing1971/

You can also purchase your ticket at Maraya Art Centre: http://maraya.ae/index.php?r=site/contact