Reasons to be Creative Conference Spring 2015

“Our Designer Aoife Hastings is still buzzing after attending this year’s Reasons to be Creative conference. We asked her to tell us what made it so great.”

After attending last year, I made sure I wasn’t missing out on this years Reason’s to be Creative conference. With an influential line up of six talented speakers, I bought my ticket and set myself up for a day of creativity and inspiration.

The conference was held at LSO St Luke’s (London Symphony Orchestra’s Music Education Centre and venue). A perfect venue to host an abundance of over-thinkers, weirdos, pixel-pushers, developers, nerds, artists and the guy sitting beside me who loudly ate an entire bag of apples the whole way through. #seriously

Up first was Harry Roberts who is a Consultant Front-end Architect, designer, developer, writer and speaker from the UK.”  This didn’t quite work for his twitter handle , so you can follow him here@csswizardry. Harry described several ways of using SASS to theme websites and best practices in relation to SASS file organistation. Harry is a fantastic speaker and quite easy to listen to, especially when conveying technical practices to an audience that didn’t entirely consist of web designers.

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Next was Stefanie Posavec, a specialist in data-related design and visualisation. Stephanie is a former book cover designer for Penguin and an infographic designer. Alas! Stefanie threw in the towel and went freelance taking her infographics to the next level. Always a fan of data visualisation, she started producing her data relative to the physical world around her. From smog necklaces to interactive campus artwork. If you were once a fan of hopscotch, I suggest you check her out: @stefpos

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After lunch, I returned to apple boy and tuned into the next speaker James Hall, author of the popular jsPDF library and Director of Parallax.

Well this guy was just something. I would happily attend another one of his talks. He looked like something from the Arctic Monkeys combined with the brain of Einstein. James shot out some home truths in relation to internet security and how easy it is to hack into our phones and view our browsing history simply by connecting to “Free Wireless”. He populated a list of phones connected to the wifi. An awkward phone shuffle and silence proceeded among the audience as they hoped not to be the selected candidate …..

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However he did note something that was quite astounding. James suggested how easy it is for a computer to hack into a complicated password with numbers, letters, special characters etc. But it’s not easy for a computer to recognise a sentence. People forget computers also recognise spaces as an input for a password. He said “It’s easy for a human to remember a sentence but difficult for a computer. We’ve been doing it all wrong.” I guess it’s time for everyone to dig out their favourite Ulysses quote. You can follow him at @MrRio

Next up was the lovely Anna Dalstrom. Which was my second time seeing her. She spoke about human interaction with digital design and how Wearables (focusing mainly on the Apple watch) are going to massively impact the design / usability world. I look forward to more talks by her once there is substantial data collated when Wearables become more mainstream. @annadahlstrom

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Two more speakers to go, and the high standard continued with the humorous Andy Clarke, who talked about iconic advertising and branding. He spoke highly of memorable advertisements, and how this approach could possibly influence the field of digital design. Is there an iconic ‘go to’ website out there? One that will go down in history or has this been overlooked? This is great food for thought. He also played the Old Spice advert…. Thanks Andy. Happy lass. Or unhappy lass when it reminded me of how woeful my man was.

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For our finale came Elliot Jay Stocks, Creative Director of Typekit. Sporting an impressive beard and an interest in craft beer, Elliot had an amazing and down to earth presentation where he took us through the stages of his career. It’s quite humbling to see someone of such esteem go through the same experiences/obstacles as you. He talked about his new magazine “Lagom” partnered with his wife Samantha Stocks (yeah her name rocks). He discussed his experiences producing the magazine and expressed how important it is to pay your contributors, no matter how small the gesture. It really is a fantastic piece of print work, so I advice everyone to grab a copy here.

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Overall it was an inspiring day all round, and great to see such varying designers and developers. I came away more confident of my artistic abilities and with new confidence to experiment and try new things. Whether it’s a necklace that represents smog data or a ground-breaking internet security program. The world is your oyster, so get your pencils out and discover more Reasons to be Creative!

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