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This post is a little piece on the Generate Conference put on by .Net magazine and Future publishing on all things web related!

Last month myself and my colleague Mandy Wong, attended the Generate Conference down in London. The conference predominantly focusses on Web design and Front end Development, which cover Mandy (Design) and myself (Development). There were two tracks running and you could pick and choose which talks from each track you wished to attend. Myself and Mandy chose tracks that interested us both personally and professionally.

We started with a Keynote from Denise Jacobs who did a talk on White Space Creativity and how to maximise our brains creative capacity (this included a spot of meditation)! Straight after this followed a talk by Meagan Fisher who talked about the business side of Design/Dev and how to be successful freelancing in this industry – this was a rather engaging presentation and contained lots of funny gifs along the way!

After a quick break we listened to talks by a CSS/SASS guru (Zoe Mickley Gillenwater), which basically re-affirmed that my next Treehouse course will be on SASS and I will be implementing this into future web builds, the power of this platform and the way the OOCSS works can certainly streamline the way styles are applied throughout a site and in term helps speed up your website.

Elliot Jay Stocks from Adobe Type Kit talked about all things Fonts and implementation of Fonts, Fonts styles and Characters etc. This talk gave very useful incite into Typekit and really opened the eyes as to the intricacy’s of delivering font faces and styles on the web (ooo I’m meant to say Typeface not Font…ooops).

After lunch – which consisted of a quite a sizeable buffet of treats, we got some front-row seats for the second half of the day which was started off by a thoroughly entertaining and interesting talk by Gavin Strange – Senior Designer at Aardman (The creators of Wallace and Gromit among others).

This talk was focussed on the re-design of Aardman’s website, and how they went about the design and build, this re-build then lead to a complete re-brand across both digital and print platforms, which was testament to Gavin’s passion about both the brand and the website design he created. I am a big fan of the website from the presentation so being a typical developer my first move was to visit it, view the code, view the CMS (WordPress) and have a play responsively and all that jazz. It really is a nice and well built site, works great responsively and more importantly that anything on content heavy website like this … was the speed, it was quick and used  lazy load very well.

Overall this talk was a really funny, interesting and exciting one. The one single thing that came across both from Gavin in the flesh and in his work is the passion, he clearly loves the company and brand and this translates into his work. He has a number of side projects (including his own toy range of “Droplets” – of which I got a “Droplet”…lucky me!) and does free charity design work all for the love of it. This is an admirable thing to do but the point he was getting across was simple….we are in this industry because with love what we do!….Right?

To close the event a very though provoking talk from Jeremy Keith about the web, not relying on Javascript and making sure that instead of wasting time trying to make everything work in every legacy browser, to better off spend our time educating people about these browsers and support. If only my clients had this approach — unfortunately a lot of the clients I have require all aspects to work of IE8 and sometimes below, so at the moment I am just going to have to continue with my (usually) JavaScript based fixes for legacy browsers. The talk though was great!


Finally, Dan Cederholm finished the day off with a funny and light-hearted keynote. Dan is the creator of Dribbble and CSS3 Ninja – the design community website that was a side project and now a multimillion pound enterprise. His talk was centred around a question and answer session with audience participation, where he answered questions on Dribble, his work-life balance and what’s next for him personally. After this he played the Banjo (Yes for some reason he played the Banjo) and gave out a couple of free copies of his new Sass book – which Mandy happily obliged in taking a copy of to get signed!

The day was finished off with a quick drink and catch up with other developers and designers in a local (free) bar before myself and Mandy had a 30 minute sprint to catch our train. Long Day but a very very interesting, engaging and information filled day with lots to take away. I for one will be looking to go back next year.


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