It has been a yearly tradition of mine to go to the country's premiere creativity and design conference and they're taking it up a notch this year. Graphika Manila celebrates its 10th anniversary by making the event last for 2 days and have a whopping lineup of 14 speakers, with some of them returning from previous GM events.

Graphika Manila always exceeds my expectations each year and missing out on this one would be a huge regret for me for a long time. Unfortunately, my friends couldn't go so I had to go on my own which means I might have a bad time. Fortunately, I had a blast with the speakers despite being alone.

I just wanna say that I really love this year's branding of Graphika Manila! I'll tell you who the designers are in a short while.

To kick off the event, Chris Lee of The Asylum was the first one to talk and it's a good thing he's a funny guy because it really set the mood. I am in love with their branding portfolio. My favorite one is the design of frolick. Although I'm not an interior and industrial designer, I wanted to design walls, tables and chairs after seeing their works!

This year's Graphika Manila brand design was made by none other than this duo, Machineast! I've always been a fan of collaborating with my friends and their talk strengthened that desire. Me and my friend Mixi (who was kinda far behind me) looked at each other and we both had a silly look on our faces. The two of us would love to make more awesome shit together!

I also wanted to learn motion graphics in Cinema 4D after watching their awesome works. They also inspired me to make works that pay tribute to the people that I idolize and love.

Who said good looks don't come with a good personality? Next up was the very lovely and very funny Pomme Chan. She's a graphic designer and illustrator from Thailand. She inspired me to find my potential and to look for better places as to not get stuck to where you are for the rest of your life. I also learned that it's nice to look and give back to where you came from.

Besides illustrations and patterns, she can also do calligraphy such as this one, which was turned into a neon sign for an event! She also got to design a bedroom which turned out really beautiful. She also collaborated with Baby G (her watch already sold out by the way) and was one of the artists for the Oscars "Imagine What's Possible" design campaign.

Leeroy New is a Filipino contemporary artist. He works in fields such as fashion, film, theatre and visual arts. During his presentation, I just found out that there is a high school for the arts in my country. It would be so awesome to study in that school. He inspired me to try new things and explore different mediums and see where art can take me. Leeroy is amazing!

88Storey Films is the Philippines' premiere production house and is led by directors Sid Maderazo and Mark Querubin. Some of their works include the Cobra Energy and Choco Knots commercials. It was super cool to get a the behind-the-scene at some of their works.

I love their ads but it made me love them even more after seeing the amount of work and creativity that they put into it. It would be awesome to work with these amazing people one day!

Seb Lester was the final speaker for the first day of Graphika Manila. He is a designer and artist from the U.K. Listening to him speak was like watching a live BBC documentary. Haha! He developed typefaces and type designs for some of the world's biggest companies.

I was familiar with the typefaces that he made but I had no idea that he was the one who created them. A lot of big companies and magazines are using his typefaces.

I became speechless when he started showing his calligraphic works. I am out of words to describe at how amazing he is. You should check out his Instagram account. I feel a huge regret for not signing up for his workshop! Now I have to learn it on my own but that's alright because we all gotta start somewhere.

On the second day of Graphika Manila, six more awesome speakers were set to talk and inspire people like me. If you noticed the inconsistence of the photos in the first day, it's because I keep changing seats due to the number of attendees. I made sure that I had a permanent one on the second day.

The first one to break the ice was Filipino graphic designer and illustrator AJ Dimarucot! His t-shirt designs are popular on and He has worked with awesome clients such as Nike, Manny Pacquiao and Michael Jordan.

One of my dreams is to design my own clothing line. I'm more inspired to start working and designing after seeing his works. They're amazing and it would be cool to collaborate on a t-shirt design with him!

It has been my childhood dream to be part of Disney. During my first Graphika, I was disappointed that Walt Dinsey Animation had already talked in a previous Graphika event. I was really ecstatic when I found out they were coming back this year!

We were given a behind-the-scenes look at some of Disney's latest animated films such as Wreck-It-Ralph, Frozen and Big Hero 6. Benson also showed us his animated reel which contains the scenes that he animated himself. Since Disney is originally known for 2D animted films, every 3D CG aniamted films starts with a 2D drawing and still incorporates the rules and style of 2D animation.

Back in old Disney, they would hire actors to act out as basis for the animated scenes such as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Sleeping Beauty. A lot of people think Disney doesn't do it anymore but it's now the animators themselves that act out these scenes. Sometimes they get inspiration from relatives and friends like what Benson did for Little Anna in Frozen.

Benson showed us some pictures of animators closely studying the behavior of different animals for Zootopia. We were also informed that both of them are coming out next year so there will be no animated Walt Disney film this year. I'm really excited for these films, especially for Moana which is a musical and is Disney's first Pacific Islander princess. I heard it'll incorporate a painterly style in CG (not the Paperman look).

After Walt Disney Animation's presentation was the hilarious duo Anton & Irene. The New York-based studio is composed of Anton Repponen and Irene Pereyra. They're the ones responsible for the major redesign of websites such as USA Today and Wacom.

First of all I would just like to say that their Powerpoint game is strong. Haha! Or whatever presentation tool they used. I love the simple design and the use of video backgrounds.

They gave us a lot of tips and shared their own experiences about pitching to a client (don't go cray) although that's not really the focus of their talk. They talked about their conceptualization and design process for user interfaces. To be honest, I don't have that much experience with UX/UI design yet but I got more interested in the field after their presentation.


As a kid, I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur and at the same time I loved to draw. Seeing Nicolo's presentation and how he got started with Nick Automatic was a huge inspiration to me. His presentation had everyone in stitches and it was obvious that he loved zombies and stuff like that.

He got to design a shirt for Nicki Minaj! How awesome is that?

Next up was Enric Godes from Vasava. Vasava is a Multimedia Design company from Barcelona. I'm a huge fan of their design aesthetic (a lot of them are my life peg haha) and I love the vibrancy of their works.

I really like the incorporation of food with their designs. Haha!

One of my favorite works from Vasava is the installation where you get to peek in and see a stereoscopic image using those classic Viewmaster toys. It inspired me to conceptualize an installation that utilizes stereoscopy too. Actually my original intention for my exhibit piece was for it to be in stereoscopic 3D but I had to consider time constraints and feasibility.

And last but not the least was Joshua Davis. I'm a bit embarrassed to say this but I'm familiar with Joshua because he was my favorite judge in the Sagmeister x Walsh Adobe Game Show instead of him being a designer. Of course I am now a huge fan of this guy and his design work! And he's fucking hilarious!

He creates these beautiful patterns through programming. He almost turned me into a programmer. Haha! Codes are definitely my weakness but maybe I'll get into it one day. His works look magnificent on a large scale and is much more beautiful when he combines it with traditional art. I would love to collaborate with this guy!

Great advice from the master! Hashtag feels.

For me, my Graphika Manila experience won't be complete if I didn't get the chance to meet all the awesome speakers. I admired Jessica Walsh a lot more when she willingly waited for everyone to get the chance to meet her and have their books signed back in Graphika Manila 2013. She got left behind! I'm glad all of the speakers did that last year, as well as this year.

I actually lined up for 2 and a half hours but it's all good. As much as I try hard to be cool, I tend to get weird and awkward when it's actually already my turn. Haha! I'm glad they're all so nice and accommodating! It was a real struggle though because I had no friend with me and I had to ask the assistant and a person in front of me to take my picture.

The first ones I got to meet were Ando and Fizah of Machineast and AJ Dimarucot. My first meet and greet and it already became a nightmare. The camera wouldn't focus and the flash won't go off for some reason. It was a huge relief when the picture was finally taken. I'll bring a point-and-shoot camera instead next time. Haha!

I got to meet Leeroy, Irene and Anton next! They were really nice and approachable! Everything went by really fast 'cause there were still a lot of people behind me.

Next was Seb Lester. He's a real gentleman and so soft-spoken! It's a real bummer the picture quality isn't so good!

With Benson Shum from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Enric Godes from Vasava! Benson was the first speaker who asked my name. He found it cool that my name was Gelo (Jessica Walsh found it cool too!) and he was really nice. Maybe I reminded him of Baymax. Haha!

Enric was nice too and easy to talk to, like a long time friend! The picture is out of focus again and I was too shy to ask for another picture. Plus there are still lots of people in line.

Pomme Chan still had high energy and was down for a picture! So cute! This is my second picture with her. I was one of the lucky ones who took a picture with her after the first day. I got awkward and shy to ask for a picture with Nicolo but at least he's in the picture. Haha!

Me: Can I take a picture with you?
Joshua: FUCK YEAH!

After meeting Jessica Walsh and Joshua Davis, it would be really awesome to meet Stefan Sagmeister and Timothy Goodman next! Team New York! Haha!

Here's my Graphika Manila book with all their signatures! Pomme Chan made a cute doodle of me, Benson Shum said "Cool name Jelo! (although it's really Gelo which is short for Gerard Lopez haha), and Joshua Davis doodled an awesome octopus creature thing.

And that is it for my Graphika Manila 2015 blog post. That was a lot to take in. Haha! This is the longest blog post I've written! I'd like to congratulate and thank Aram and Ella Beheshti for this wonderful event! I'm looking forward to future Graphika Manila events! Special thanks to Everywhere We Shoot for the ticket!

I also made a video blog of this year's Graphika Manila! Check it out!

Here's my Graphika Manila 2016 Wishlist:

1. Timothy Goodman - Timothy is a designer and illustrator from New York. He worked with Jessica Walsh on 40 Days of Dating. His works are perfect for Graphika and his colleagues have spoken for the event in the past years!

2. Casey Neistat - he's an awesome filmmaker and I love his YouTube channel. He's perfect for the event! Also, if you're not following his snapchat (@caseyneistat), you're missing out on a lot of good stuff!

3. Blue Sky Animation - A lot of animation companies have talked at Graphika Manila and I think it would be awesome to include them! They've worked on films such as Ice Age, Horton Hears a Who, Rio, and now including the upcoming The Peanuts Movie! It would be really cool to witness the animation process!

4. Reel FX Animation - It's time to give some spotlight to this company! They have worked on animated films including my favorite, The Book Of Life! It would be really cool to see more of their work.

See more photos from the event here!


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