It was our first festival in Hamburg and it was absolutely amazing. 1.000 visitors, more than 20 speakers, 4 festival scenes and a lot of creativity and inspiration – that was Forward Festival Hamburg.



During Raj Davsi’s (The Mill) talk


Last week, creatives from all over the world gathered in Hamburg to listen to lectures, join interactive workshops and, of course, celebrate. 1.000 visitors enjoyed talks from Felix Richter, Executive Creative Director at Droga5 New York, and designer Raj Davsi from the visual effects studio The Mill, in the Millerntor Stadion, the home of the famous soccer club FC St. Pauli.


Stefan Sagmeister talking about beauty


Stefan Sagmeister frees beauty from refuse and rust


The highlight of Forward Festival Hamburg was Stefan Sagmeister’s talk at the Main Stage. In front of a full house, the Austrian design legend taught us why beauty matters for designers as well as for the general society. Before Sagmeister’s talk the Dutch marketing genius Erik Kessels entertained the crowd with his celebration of imperfection and failure. He spoke about the importance of failure for your own creative development.


Erik Kessels talking about the importance of failure


Celebrating diversity together with the Millerntor Gallery


For our first festival in Hamburg, we teamed up with the Millerntor Gallery, a festival initiated by Viva con Agua that collects donations for decent access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Michael Fritz, one of the founders of Viva con Agua, gave the festival visitors an exclusive tour through the Millerntor Gallery.


Michael Fritz (Viva con Agua) explaining an artwork


Moreover, Forward donated money to Viva con Agua for each ticket sold and the promotional drum for this project was also touched on site. In total, 4.700 euros were collected for the network.


Festival visitors exploring the Millerntor Gallery


A spark of creativity and innovation


At the Living Room Stage, the graffiti artist and illustrator DXTR presented his latest artworks and told the audience about the importance of the platform Behance for his career. In addition, the German artist assisted the participants of the Adobe Stock Creative Jam with advice and support.


DXTR during his talk


During the breaks, visitors explored new interesting products in the Expo Area, participated in live art action by Eva Dietrich and Stefan Mosebach, took a selfie at’s foto booth or made their own keychain at the booth of FREITAG. In addition, the tattoo stickers by Tattster were very popular with our visitors and a good pastime during the breaks.




The influential German publication PAGE hosted Job Talks at the Living Room Stage giving the audience a first-hand insight into the work of creatives. The renowned agency Jung von Matt send Robert Menzel and Julian Schau from their experimental department called “Cats.” They talked about the latest developments and trends in advertising. A group discussion hosted by Geometry discussed the importance of guiding moments for discovering new ways of working.


Michael Jonas during his talk at the Living Room Stage


Afterwards, the Forward team members celebrated the success of the great festival together with guests, speakers and friends at the afterparty presented by Ladies, Wine and Design Hamburg.




It’s best if you see for yourself (all photos by jmvotography):


The Forward team




Danger Dave from Cool Shit






Inside the Millerntor Stadion