Graphika Manila 2018

I like attending conferences. It’s a great way to soak up inspiration when you need it, meet people, and just learn new things in general. That’s why when the Graphika Manila 2018 details were announced, I knew I wasn’t going to miss it this year.

GM Virgin

This was my first Graphika Manila. I’d always wanted to join but things just weren’t in my favor. It was either I had no money, I was out of town, or had other prior commitments. This year, I thought I’d send some of my team members to the conference, and since I didn’t have anything to do that particular weekend, I booked myself a ticket too.

Being a GM virgin, I didn’t know what to expect. I saw the lineup of speakers and was excited that at least two of them were letterers / typographers – Abbey Sy and Alex Trochut. Serious Studio and Chris Do were also particularly interesting, if you want to learn about the business side of being a creative. I just wish I had known about Chris’ workshop beforehand. It’s something I could really use right now.


Sitting on one of the chairs at the far back, I couldn’t help but be amazed that I was actually in a room full of creative minds, and that the speakers (geniuses, really) were breathing the same air I was. This year’s lineup included:

Day 1
  1. Adam J. Kurtz
  2. Miguel Lee of Midgnight Sherpa
  3. Lester Cruz of Serious Studio
  4. Evan Dehaven
  5. Kevin Andrew Smith of Weta Digital
  6. Danger Dave of Hungry Castle

Adam Kurtz

I particularly enjoyed Kurtz’ and Serious Studio’s talks. Loved the information from Dehaven, and was floored by the amazing works of Weta Digital, Midnight Sherpa, and Hungry Castle.

Day 2
  1. Abbey Sy
  2. Ben Hughes of Stink Studios
  3. Henry and Tom Purrington of Golden Wolf
  4. Alex Trochut
  5. Alex Cancado of Luma Pictures
  6. Chris Do
The Purrington Twins of Golden Wolf
Abbey Sy

If I have to pick, I’d say Day 2 talks are my favorite! Given that two of them (Abbey Sy and Alex Trochut) talked about something close to my heart (lettering), I really loved the twins’ talk and presentation. Theirs was fun, interesting, and also close to my heart as they did talk a lot about social media and our dying attention span. Chris Do’s talk was controversial, though I can’t say I’m surprised. His presentation’s Filipino subtitles were hilarious and he really knew how to work up the crowd. His talk was the most interactive out of the bunch.

Conference Kit and Freebies

One of the booths.
Conference Kit

(I know, suckiest flatlay ever.) The conference kit had the usual booklet of artwork submissions, a conference guide, a couple of stickers and a postcard. It came in a cute gray bag with a white print of this year’s conference logo. The magazine was a giveaway from a Adobo’s booth inside the hall.

There was a raffle as well at the end of Day 2 giving away some cool stuff like invites to Chris Do’s workshop, Adam’s book collection, and more. GM shirts were also given away on the first day.

Sad to say, I didn’t win any. But I did learn a lot from the conference, which was more than what I’d hoped for.

What they could do differently

I really wished though that it was only a 1-day conference. Two days were particularly tiring, especially from someone who was coming from Quezon City. Speaking of, I would also appreciate a venue nearer to my place. I also wouldn’t mind spending a bit more on the tickets if it meant I could get a better conference kit, like maybe one that included the GM shirt.

The merch table was also a mess. It could look way better. I was particularly hesitant to go over and spend money because it just didn’t look appealing enough. Either way, I’d still attend future conferences though. I might consider buying merch when they have a more organized shop.