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5 February, 2011

My First Conference (Part Two)

I’ve been trying to work a seemingly random collection of thoughts into a follow up post about New Adventures conference. It’s not really happened so I’ve chosen to just throw them out there to anyone who is interested.

Overall I enjoyed the day, it was fun, informative and pushed me out of my comfort zone, teaching me things about design and myself that are valuable and I am processing in order to improve.

Most enjoyable was Brendan’s talk. He was the most entertaining in delivery and engaged the audience excellently. His passion for design is infectious, but something I felt myself identifying with straight away. I don’t obsess over using the right pencil, but my friends can attest that I do obsess over other seemingly pointless items.

Most disappointing was Veerle Pieter’s talk about inspiration. I really enjoy Veerle’s blog, and so was looking forward to hearing her talk but, for me, it had too much example and not enough insight. I was hoping for some processes which people could adopt or adapt to make their own and use as triggers in the creative process. I know we all work differently, but hearing how someone goes about finding inspiration when all they are hitting is brick wall after brick wall can be inspiring in itself. Veerle also seemed to contradict some of the talks from the morning, with a theme of doing something a certain way because you like it rather than for a particular reason. Whilst design is subjective and sometimes we go with our gut, there’s usually reason for doing it beyond “I like it”.

Most thought provoking was Dan Rubin’s talk on maturing the industry by developing a language that has meaning and that everyone can understand. Having moved to a new job around 3 months ago and having had the opportunity to work on a couple of web jobs, this struck a cord. The things I mean when I refer to something and the things they mean when my new colleagues refer to something are easily confused on these jobs, however, when it comes to a print job everyone knows exactly what the other person means.

Elliot’s talk, Andy Clarke’s, Jon Tan’s and Mark Boulton’s were also some of the most informative, interesting and thought provoking talks that left me feeling inspired and motivated. Good stuff that I have already noticed is informing the way I work.

New Adventures was a really good day, which I thoroughly enjoyed, hopefully I’ll get to a few more in the future and I’m certainly hoping that I can make it to New Adventures 2.

18 January, 2011

My First Conference (Part One)

This week I’m heading to my first design conference in the form of New Adventures in my home town1. In the past I’ve always looked in on conferences from the outside, so when I heard about naconf I figured it was time to take the leap.

As someone who works primarily in print but has a real fascination with the web I’m hoping to learn a lot and figure out where my layout skills can cross over to the screen. I’ve heard it said many a time that print designers shouldn’t switch to the web, but equally I’ve seen many high profile designers achieve great things in both formats.

I’m most looking forward to hearing some of the best in the business share some valuable insights into the various topics. In particular I’m looking forward to hearing Veerle Pieters share some thoughts on triggering inspiration and how we can break through the block we all suffer from time to time. One of the things I find hardest when I’m designing for the web is inspiration. When you use the web so regularly it’s very easy to let yourself fall in to a pattern of “this goes here, that there…” and before you know it you have a very insipid run of the mill website. I’m hoping I may pick up a few techniques to help me use my experience in designing for print be the inspiration for designing for the web.2

Since it’s my first conference I know I won’t be able to soak everything up all in one go, but I’m going armed with a brand new Moleskine and I’m hoping the notes I make will compliment the slides when they are released. The whole day will be a learning experience, but the learning doesn’t just stop once I’ve left the venue. It continues in the follow up and, most importantly, in my efforts to put what’s been said into practise.

Beyond the talks, I’m looking forward to hopefully meeting a few of the people I’ve come across on the web. Be it via blogs, twitter or some other means it’d be great to meet some new faces in the industry. So if you read this, or follow me on Twitter do come and say Hi!

  1. Well 25 minutes outside of the city is technically my home town, but I was born in Nottingham so close enough. []
  2. I was going to go on here highlighting all the things I’m looking forward to, but, as I began writing I realised I’d be highlighting all the talks in the schedule. It seems, unsurprisingly, that they all compliment one another nicely. []