Sunday, October 26, 2014

Generate Conference 2014

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Last month my colleague Adam from The fresh Group and I headed down to London Covent Garden to the spectacular Grand Connaught Rooms – host of Generate Conference 2014.

When I first heard the news that The fresh Group was going to send me to the Generate Conference, I got a little giddy. They had an amazing line up of guest speakers including Dan Cederholm, Jeremy Keith and Elliot Jay Stocks. I carved my web development skills by reading books after books written by these guys… Dan Cederholm pretty much single handedly taught me everything I know about CSS. My first CSS book was ‘Web Standards Solutions’, then I read ‘Bulletproof Web Design’ and ‘CSS3 for Web Designers’, all books written by Cederholm. Jeremy Keith taught me HTML5 through his book ‘HTML5 for Web Designers’ and Elliot Jay Stocks’ responsive grid is still my ‘go-to’ tool in every website I design and build. So attending the Generate Conference to see these guys was a big deal for me.

If you’ve not come across the Generate Conference before, it’s a conference for web designers presented by net magazine and Creative Bloq featuring an impressive list of speakers including the ones mentioned above as well as Meagan Fisher, Denise Jacobs, Jake Archibald, Chris Murphy, Gavin Strange, Anna Debenham, Remy Sharp, Johanna Kollmann, Zoe Mickley Gillenwater and Alastair Campbell.

The talks were split into two rooms so Adam and I picked the ones most relevant to us, our jobs and interests. We decided to kick off the morning by going to see Denise Jacobs’ talk on ‘White Space Creativity’, followed by Meagan Fishers’ animated gifs, cats and dogs themed keynote on how to ‘Be Less Terrible at the Business of Design’. After the morning break and a flying visit to the Shopify workshop, Adam and I settled back into our seat for Zoe Mickley Gillenwater’s talk on ‘CSS Lessons Learned the Hard Way, followed by Elliot Jay Stocks who presented a fantastic and informative talk about ‘Advanced Web Typography’.

Then it was time for lunch. If you know me personally, you’d know I would be dreading this moment… it’s been a long day, I was absolutely ravenous so a platter of triangular sandwiches and wraps would be a nightmare for me – I’m a bit of a health freak, I need my protein fix, good fats and complex carbs. Oh my god, I needn’t have worried… the food was amazing!!! But anyway, this blog post isn’t about the food so let’s move on!

After lunch, Adam and I managed to get front row seats for the afternoon talks. First up was Gavin Strange, Senior Designer of Aardman Animation with his talk on ‘Graft, Craft and being Daft’. Gavin’s talk was energetic, inspiring and simply out of this world! In his talk, Gavin spoke about the redesign of Aardman’s website and printed materials, the one-off Gromit statue he designed that went on to raised £4.5 million for Bristol Children’s Hospital and his side project designing toys under the name ‘Droplet’. Adam even got a Droplet thrown at him by Gavin on stage. So Gavin, if you are reading this… please get in touch, Adam would love to have his ‘Bowie Droplet’ signed!

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Gavin Strange on Graft, Craft and being Daft

After a short break and grabbing my free Shopify tee designed by Mike Kus, we settled back into our front row seat for the final talks by Jeremy Keith and an interview and Q&A session with Dan Cederholm. Jeremy’s talk was inspiring and about progressive enhancement – not allowing ourselves as developers to rely on Javascript and not spending too much wasted time and effort making websites look exactly the same in every browser but to use that time instead to educate clients and people around us. Dan’s session was informative and we learnt how a small side project became Dribbble, the enormous online community for designers that we know today. I was also really chuffed that I managed to grab a free copy of Dan’s latest book ‘SASS for Web Designers’ as well as getting three of my ‘A Book Apart’ books signed on the day.

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Jeremy Keith on stage with his Keynote on ‘Enhance!’

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Generate. You can now register for tickets for 2015, maybe I will see you there!

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 Adam and I enjoying a beverage at the Generate Conference after-party

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