I’m going to dive straight into this whilst it’s still very fresh in my head..
The short version : New Adventures in Web Design was a brilliant.
The slightly* longer version: I see web people. 400 of them in Albert Hall Nottingham, with its massive organ (pictured above). We got to watch some talks, by and large, on webby stuff. From the uber charismatic Wayne Hemmingway, to the ethereal Steph Troeth. Here’s my snap shot transcription of 6 pages in my moleskine of the good bits, the stand out bits and the sparks.
Jason Santa Maria
Jason basically described a process, that I’ve got so comfortable with over years, and said its all wrong. In a good way. How we should stop being linear and be instead, something altogether more cyclic and flexible. He talked about bringing clients into the fold more. Remove the us them barrier in the design process. He talked about design constraints, and avoiding detail early in the process. He echoes a theme from the workshop I attended yesterday : whenever possible, start with content. A big champion of the sketch book – he nailed it with this
sketchbooks are not about being a good artist, they are about being a good thinker.
I love that. What with all the new fangled magical baking trays (iPad.. Thanks @Colly for that funny) we can’t just design for desktop screen anymore. We’re living in a post psd flat mockup only world. People.
Worked for apple, did the iPhone 1 touch screen multi touch. He came across as a super nice dude, and told stories of factories in China on a mind blowing 40k+ employees scale. He talked about Appropriate Tension, and how we should all recognise and respect the other groups around us. How we should get good at group design. Respect the experienced, respect the youth. Wisdom incarnate.
Another guy with a great story. He’s now in the upper echelon of squarespace.com but he started out being a humble blogger, in the early 2000s like me. He created Kubrick the WordPress theme and it went ballistic. Follow your f’ing bliss was his message. Follow your f’ing bliss indeed.
Tiago Told his story of how (he’s a web design teacher in Porto) he scrapped the existing method of teaching in favour of using the Gamification principal to inspire his students – getting his students to work towards a goal, for a prize at the end of the course (a golden coconut). Instead of him standing at the front of class saying read this, do this, his class was now a lab that he facilitated. He helped with the students queries (which were way more than if it had been a standard course) and by his account, the courses are a great success. He suggested we give something back to the world. Share the love. Sound thinking.
Is a typographer and his point was the most inspiring to the bit of design I probably love the most. Some fonts work on a billboard, some work in a novel. Impact fonts vs immersion fonts. How different types of fonts do different things. The story of Bell Centenial for instance. The font you get in telephone directories. It’s been specifically designed for super high speed printed words on really crappy paper. A talk jam packed with practical insight on how to better design, with appropriate fonts.
This guy came on and said he was going to talk about code. Oh no (though I), I’m a designer. I don’t do code. He went on to blow our minds with art installations he’s built with code (interest piqued) before doing some live code, on stage using a Commodore 64. Utterly cool. He gave the thing away to a lucky person at the end who correctly guessed that he had been coding for 29 years. He iterated that we all really should code. I wrote an action down “learn to code”.
I’d briefly met Stephanie the day before as she attended the workshop I was in. What ever words I type here would not really do justice to her message, in fact the theme of her message ‘wabi-sabi’, doesn’t really have a an equivalent in the English language. How things get better with age over time. How do we do that on the web. She talked about a movement called The New Aesthetics, that sounds well worth checking out.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Wayne before in Harrogate of all places, talking about his housing project. I remember thinking at the time, he’s a fascinating bloke, and very successful at what he does.. But how did he get there? He told us. By taking risks. (Working very hard and having a great eye and head, helped).
as long as you’re not going to hurt anyone, go for it. Don’t fear failier.
An interesting observation (from him) was that a couple of generations ago, kids wanted to be train drivers – something to do with that being perceived as a happy job. A lot of kids of today, want to work in the creative industries, as this is now perceived as being a happy job. I thoroughly enjoyed Wayne’s gig, and how even sticking two fingers up to a whole country, who were being dicks at the time, was absolutely the right thing to do, as he was standing up for his beliefs, and he got global respect for doing so. He did say go check out his new project, Dreamland is.. Which I will deffo do, soon.
This final act was brilliant. I’d thought Wayne would be a tough act to follow but this girl was perfect. She really struck a chord in me, (see my procrastination elf post) being a big fan of life hacking, and someone who generally looks for a way to squeeze more fun into my day and and squeeze more non fun out. Concepts on how to fine tune ones time and align it with what you a good at. As well as this, she peripherally showed some of the most attractive looking design I’ve seen.A great end to a great day.
*I’m putting a not quite finished caveat in right here, I want to come back and do stuff like edit it, add appropriate links and spell check it, but for now Im off to the after party, and I may be too drunk to drive a keyboard later and do my daily blog. Apologies if this is all babble, it’s all off the cuff, one take stuff.