I've had a very pleasant few days in Germany. Good food, good beer, beautiful surroundings, and more web designers and developers than you can shake a Volkswagen at. Smashing Magazine have done a fantastic job of hosting their first ever conference!
The Main Venue Photo by SmashingMagazine
Monday morning kicked off with (coffee, obviously) name tags, goody bags and plenty of anticipation as the audience awaited the first speaker. I was situated more or less in the middle of everything. The seat next to me was empty and I was a little surprised when Oliver Reichenstein sat in it. What do you say to a typographical design icon, whose work you've been drooling over for years? I came up with:
Couldn't you get a seat at the front?
Oliver Reichenstein on stage Photo by SmashingMagazine
But that's what happens at conferences where speakers and audience can mingle and talk - all the big names were available and approachable.
The line up of speakers was very impressive. Sixteen in total, delivering talks on web design business, technology, technique, theory, workflow and everything in between. Here's a quick breakdown:
- Jeremy Keith, who you'll know from so many things, not least of which his book HTML5 for Web Designers.
- Rachel Andrew CMS guru and the brains behind Perch.
- Stephen Hay Designer. Developer. Funny guy.
- Oliver Reichenstein The Information Architect and the man behind iA Writer
- Nicole Sullivan Self proclaimed Geek, initiator of OOCSS
- Paul Boag Mr.Boagworld and expert on handling clients.
- Jake Archibald Bafflingly clever Developer at Lanyrd.
- Mark Boulton If you've delved into grids, you'll have come across Mark's work. Currently busy with Gridsetapp.
- Andy Clarke The man whose CSS course first got me away from table-based layouts, recently redesigned his site with typical Mod flair.
- Lea Verou CSS genius and heading away from the speaking scene due to her new position as Developer Relations at W3C
- Josh Brewer Principal Designer at Twitter and the guy behind (the awesome) 52 Weeks of UX
- Tim Ahrens Typographer known for his work with TypeKit and Just Another Foundry
- Johnathan Snook Entertaining guy who once worked with Yahoo and can now be found busying himself with SMACSS
- Brad Frost The man of the moment in RWD, outspoken, insightful, good bloke.
- Aarron Walter Inspiring and calmly creative, Director of UX at MailChimp
- Christian Heilmann As firey on stage as in his appearance, Developer Evangelist for Mozilla.
Not bad, right?
SET SAIL FOR FAIL:My phone ringing during my #smashingconf talk.With my Nyan Cat ringtone.Thankfully, the audience was very cool folks :)
— Lea Verou (@LeaVerou) Septembre 18, 2012
(I wouldn't worry Lea - we're all human after all!)
Smashing Magazine have a great team - always friendly, always helpful, and their energy carried the whole event on perfectly. Let's face it, sixteen hours of talks in two days is pretty intense, but the atmosphere made sucking up all the information a breeze.
Saying that, the conference wouldn't have been what it was without Marc Thiele and Vitaly Friedman. Marc, who's found a niche in organizing web events (check out Beyond Tellerand if you're in Germany later this year) is the stage presence and social animal needed for the job. Vitaly, is the heart and soul of Smashing Magazine, famously friendly, and it was great to grab a beer and a chat with him on the closing night.
Vitaly and Marc Photo by SmashingMagazine
My original plan was to write a post, summarizing some of the things I've learned here. But that's not going to work - I've learned too much! Instead, you can expect some articles and tutorials which give some of my favorite tips and tricks the attention they deserve. Stay tuned for that..
Smashing Magazine and Envato share many of the same values, so it's always a pleasure to see Vitaly's projects thrive. Smashingconf 2012 was a winner and whenever the next one happens (and it will) you need to get your name signed up as quick as you can - tickets will be snapped up faster than a new batch of smoked Black Forest sausages!
Spellbound Photo by SmashingMagazine