A day at Reasons to be Creative

26 February 2015


On Friday 20th February the Redspa team were treated to a trip to the Reasons to be Creative conference. The event is ideal for designers, developers, and coders, or anyone with an interest in creativity and the web, the mix of different topics is one of the main things that attracted us to this event, along with the beautiful venue, the LSO at St Luke's Church on Old Street, and the great line up of big name speakers, including Harry Roberts and Elliot Jay Stocks.

The first talk from Harry Roberts was an interesting look at Theming in (S)CSS. Harry gave a variety of options for different routes, including code snippets and pros and cons of each choice. It was great to kick the day off with something technical, and the code snippets were a good way to get us thinking about how we lay out our own code.

Stefanie Posavec was up next, with a fantastic talk about her work in data visualisation. She started off by talking about infographics, and suggesting that many were actually just digital posters, lacking the real 'data visualisation' element and creativity. She then showed us some of the projects she has been working on, including a stint at Facebook as their artist in residence, where she created an amazing dance steps piece based on people's relationship data on Facebook. All of the projects that Stefanie showcased used a different medium of explaining the data, her ideas are both varied and inspiring, which made us come away thinking about how we could stretch our own ideas further and think outside the box.

James Hall gave a fascinating (and slightly scary!) insight into security on the web, including examples of how our security could be breeched in worryingly simple ways. James offered some solutions as to how to protect ourselves whilst browsing, including using a VPN for wifi protection. A Q&A then followed which was very entertaining as people scrambled to find out more about how we should be protecting ourselves whilst online, however it would seem that many of the problems are to do with how the web itself works.

Anna Dahlstrom gave one of my favourite talks of the day, entitled 'Beyond the Hamburger Menu', Anna's talk included what you should know when designing for multiple devices. Anna advised us all not to work on assumptions about how we think people use devices, and actually back up our design decisions with evidence and thought. Excellent advice indeed! Anna looked at a variety of different devices during the talk, including the rise of 'wearables' such as smart watches, and how the emergence of these new technologies will affect the way people use the internet. This was a fantastic, insightful talk broken down into 10 points that gave practical advice for designing for users. Great stuff!

Andrew Clarke's talk was discussing his thoughts that there is a lack of creativity on the web today. He gave advertising and in particular the PG Tips advert from the 70s, as examples of how we should be more creative with what we do on the web. Andrew argued that we shouldn't be restricted by UX and responsive design and let our ideas lead the way. Many ideas are best!

Elliot Jay Stocks was another favourite talk of mine, starting with a nostalgic (and funny!) look back at some of the websites he's built over his career. It reminded us all of how much the web has changed from those days of hideously customised MySpace profiles to today's modern design techniques. Next Elliot talked about his side projects, in particular his work in print with the magazines 8 Faces and the newly created Lagom. Elliot gave us some typography lessons, that were useful for both print and web,

showing how much of a difference great typography can make to a design. We were so impressed with his talk that we've even ordered a copy of Lagom magazine for the office, we can't wait to admire the craftsmanship when it arrives!

All in all, Reasons London was an excellent day out, and succeeded in it's task of inspiring and informing the Redspa team. One of the best things about our industry is people's willingness to share ideas and communicate freely to build a better web. If you get the opportunity to go next year, or even attend the three day Reasons event in Brighton in September, then we highly recommend that you do!