Top (Form) day out for Connect designers

We’re always learning and growing at Connect. Which is why our entire design team decamped to Glasgow for a development day at TopForm, the opening day event of Graphic Design Festival Scotland 2017.

Freelancers were drafted in, account managers primed and client work all completed ahead of schedule (imagine that). All our ducks were in a row, and the designers ready to go – one even wore his special gold trainers for the occasion.

Held at Glasgow’s Mitchell Library, the day was billed as “a series of insightful talks and discussion with six international creative industry leaders” – and it really hit the mark.

The festival is now in its fourth year and run by James Gilchrist, Beth Wilson and Victoria Donnelly of Glasgow-based design practice Warriors Studio. Their aim is engage and inspire designers and bring graphic design into the public domain.

For the last four years the event has gone from strength to strength, providing talks, workshops and exhibitions for designers of all levels, not to mention a great launch party each year where you can have a couple of beers, mix with peers and talk shop along to some great tunes.


The speakers at this year at TopForm were:

  • Carola Seybold, Director of Business Development, Pantone
  • Claudia Klat, Design Director, Spin
  • Stephen McGilvray, Design Director, Wolff Olins
  • Liza Enebeis, Creative Director, Studio Dumbar
  • Harry Pearce, Partner, Pentagram
  • Rob Lowe, Founder of Supermundane.

The day itself was a big success and we got a real sense of enthusiasm, humour and genuine passion from each of the speakers.

Carola from Pantone took us on a journey through colour and the importance of Pantone matching.

The guys from SPIN, Wolff Olins and Studio Dumbar gave us a fantastic insight into life in their own studio environments plus some really interesting case studies on recent projects, showcasing their approach, development and delivery of each creative brief.

Harry from Pentagram gave an entertaining and honest talk about his life experiences and how they provide him with the inspiration to meet client briefs. Finally, Rob from Supermundane took us on a highly entertaining stream of consciousness, covering poster design, a poem about a dead dog, the apocalypse and typography.


It’s fair to say we all got a real kick out of the day and it was brilliant to see how other creatives operate.

As far as learnings go, our five bits of advice from the great and good of TopForm 2017 would be:

  1. See the art in everything and capture it as much as possible.
  2. Think beyond the final result of the brief, design for the next stage of your client relationship.
  3. Approach even the most lackluster brief with intention of making something awesome.
  4. Good design can make a (social) difference.
  5. Black goes with everything, especially a red beret.

We all walked away from TopForm full of inspiration (and Scotch eggs) and buzzing with great ideas for our clients.

I’m still pondering how to leverage the power of an existential poem though…

By James Cargill, Head of Design