A View from Dev: Front-End Design Conference

in Digital Marketing | by Admin

Below are a few key takeaways from St. Pete’s Front-End Design Conference, day 1 from the view point of our developer, Aaron Harvey.

Morning Session:

We began the conference by being greeted with a warm smile, a free conference t-shirt, coffee and donuts! After we had enough caffeine and sugar in us our first speaker took the stage. Matt Griffin founder of Bearded shared with us clips from his upcoming documentary film about what it means to be a web designer. In his film he interviewed many influential industry leaders to get their take. Matt took us back a few years to find out how designers dealt with going from designing for desktops, to all of the different screens that are now used to view the web. Many of the people interviewed talked on how they struggled with this new challenge of having to rethink how they work. Matt received many laughs throughout his speech at one point impersonating the Heat Miser from the 1974 children’s television special The Year Without a Santa Claus.

Samantha Warren was scheduled to take the stage next but we would have to wait a little bit longer for her as her flight was delayed and she would instead speak in the afternoon session. Smith Schwartz was kind enough to move up into this slot and talked to us about SASS for Engineers. Smith showed slides showing all of the places her work has allowed her to visit throughout this beautiful world. Smith went on to talk about SASS style guides including recommending Mina Markham’s SMACCS Your SASS Up.

Our last speaker of the morning was Sam Kapila. Sam talked about making sure to ask the clients questions and listen to them when they give you answers instead of just forcing your own ideas on to them. She emphasized taking research into consideration before going ahead with a project. It’s key to find out where the client has come from to determine where they are going.

Afternoon Session:
We returned to the conference after lunch to find our first speaker of the afternoon, Samantha Warren. Samantha talked to us about how she tried to learn ceramics one day. She showed us a slide of what her art was supposed to look like before revealing what it eventually did look like. The lesson was that we as designers had great ideas from the first day but our skills just take some time to catch up. Only after we stumble and fall do we pick ourselves up and continue to grow.

The second speaker of the afternoon was Rachel Smith. Rachel started off by asking us which one of two different depictions of websites our looked like. She explained that sometimes we get comfortable with writing clean code and that we stop taking chances with our work to the point where what we design gets boring. She offered up the idea of having us learn to take chances at places like Codepen where we can play with animation and get creative without feeling like you are being judged. This will translate over into our own professional work and only improve our creativity.

The last speaker was up for the task of keeping our attention after listening to other speeches all day. Aaron Draplin talked about how he began making logos many years ago and today he has his first ever book to share with us. He flipped through pages of his book to share sketches and logos with each of them having a colorful story to entertain us. He told us about the time he saw Gene Simmons from Kiss at the airport refusing to autograph a plane ticket for a fan (Aaron told us how he decided to walk up to Mr. Simmons and call him by the wrong name calling him Ted Nugent to cut him back down to size). He told us about the time Bernie Sanders asked him recently to design some work for his election and Aaron was excited at the event he never remembered to pose for a picture with Mr. Sanders until he zoomed in to a picture showing a tiny dot of a bearded man who appeared to be Aaron Draplin beneath Bernie’s outstretched arms. Aaron gave us the message that we can all change the industry by believing in ourselves and working hard to accomplish our dreams.

Oh yeah, they also had ice cream sandwiches and milk available in the afternoon. Can you believe that? Ice cream sandwiches!