A list for web designers – NaConf 2012


New Adventures in Web Design Conference 2012

Compared to my other conference write-ups, (FOWA, inSites, WDC2011), where I basically just wrote up who spoke and what the talks were about, I’ve decided to do something a little different for my write up of the New Adventure in Web Design Conference 2012 (NaConf).

Why? Well for a few reasons. One, that I felt like doing something a little different as some of the write-ups can be a bit dreary if you weren’t actually there, and secondly, there was one or two talks that I genuinely didn’t think were very good, and I don’t want this post to seem negative, as Simon Collison put on an absolutely fantastic event. I think he was born to be a conference organiser, as everything ran really smoothly and on top of that, I can attest to the fact that he truly is a top notch gentleman who definitely deserves the praise he gets from putting on these events.

So what I’m going to do is write down one highlight from each talk, and hopefully these points should be a pretty good list of design advice, regardless of wether you attended NaConf this year or not.

  1. Dan Mall:
    “Your client has to be your partner – they aren’t an extension of your team, they are your team”
    Treat clients as part of your team. Make sure you collaborate with them at each milestone during the projects development.
  2. Naomi Atkinson:
    Don’t be afraid to move on and evolve your brand message, in order to get noticed by anyone, an industry or a company.
  3. Travis Schmeisser:
    We need to “loosen the fuck up”.
    Remember custom MySpace themes? Despite normally being awful, they encouraged creativity and learning.
    Are we taking our jobs too seriously now? Have we lost the fun and joy of it all?
  4. Robbie Manson:
    Don’t be afraid to fail. By experiencing more failures, we learn to make fewer mistakes. Also that accidents can sometimes lead to great results. Who hasn’t accidentally turned off a photoshop layer, or changed a blending mode to discover a really nice result every now and then!
  5. Trent Walton:
    Don’t be afraid to break things. We should all try to push stuff forward to discover its limitations, and when we break things, we gain a better understanding of how they work, and are then able to make improvements.
  6. Cameron Koczon:
    Design(ers) needs to be elevated in how they are perceived by companies. A design team must feel that it has both the authority to make product decisions and the responsibility for the outcome of those decisions.
  7. Denise Jacobs:
    Allow creativity to come on to you, rather than rushing to find an answer while your brain isn’t yet ready.
  8. Frank Chimero:
    “When everything moves – the only solution is to dance.” Design moves, and we can never stop moving with it. It moves the designer when it’s being made, it moves when it is published, and through its proliferation. If it’s good design then it will almost gain a life of its own!
Colly takes the stage at NaConf 2012

Besides all the great and inspiring talks, I also met and saw so many wonderful people. I am very glad to work within an industry that is so friendly and welcoming, and I am very happy to know and talk to the people I do. I just hope Colly doesn’t need to be bullied into putting it on again next year!