Ampersand Conference Brighton

Ampersand audience
Look there's me, left of the centre, red shirt, looking daft. Photo by Adactio

Last week I went along to the first Ampersand Conference in Brighton. Not the first typography conference, but the first type conference focussed on the web. Speakers from round the world presented their thoughts on the current state of type design and the web. The event was put together by the good folks at Clearleft and lovely it was too. Some of the presentation went a little too techie for me, but when you get to spend the entire day talking fonts, it's hard to complain.

Highlights for me included Jonathan Hoefler describing how his foundry has been painstakingly redrawing ever single font for the web, Jason Santa Maria discussing how a little typographic understanding can be as dangerous as the Deathstar and Mark Boulton evangelising responsive design and embracing chaos (strange move at a conference celebrating greater control over type!).

There is a good write up over at Eye Magazine. Go forth, read and kick thy self for not attending.


Nokia launches the N9 - WANT

Good for Nokia. After years in the wilderness and PR hell, they have finally released a product worthy of their status. The new N9 looks like a beautiful marriage of hardware and software. It's not breaking any new ground and largely building on Apple's success, but you can't deny how well finished this product appears.

Check out the release vid. Looking forward to getting my hands on one of these.


D&AD asks 'what does the future hold'

Photo by Research Studios

I love the D&AD annual. Yeah i know it's a ludacrisly self indulgent piece of print work and I know it probably amounts to twenty thousand dead trees for each one, but they are a wonder to behold. Every year the designer how is charged with creating it comes up with something even more beautiful than the last. However this time round it seems the D&AD are looking at alternative publishing methods. I would say it's been hard for the D&AD to catch up with the digital world, but this looks like they are starting to move in the right direction. I'm excited to see what they come up.

D&AD asks 'what does the future hold'


The difference between being an in-house and agency designer

I've been working as an in-house designer for over a year now and I still consider myself new to it. Over the past year I've listened to people talk about how in-house teams can improve by being more like agencies. I'm sure there is some truth in that, but it's also true in reverse. Agencies can learn a lot from in-house teams.

I was trying to explain to an (agency) friend of mine why projects seem to take longer with in-house design teams and it struck me that in some cases the imperative, time pressured nature of agency work simply doesn't exsist for in-house teams. I came to the conclusion this doesn't exsist because in-house designers are faced with inevitable truth that the client will never leave. The brand you work on today, will still be there tomorrow. Don't mistake this for complacency. In simple terms in-house designers play a longer game.

For a designer working in an agency, each new project is chance to create a good impression on the client. It's an opportunity to 'show off' your skills and hopefully impress enough to get another project. Much like a date, it's about knitting together the best impression possible through brief encounters. In-house designers, on the other hand, don't have the same pressure of winning the desired client over, that part is already done. Instead they are challenged with sustaining interest and continually invigorating the relationship, like a marriage.

So here's my theory:
Designing for an agency is like dating and being an in-house designer is like being married.

Right now. I'm happily married.


D&AD Branding 2.0

I'm double gutted I missed this event, but there is a tiny snippet online you can enjoy. I can only hope that the whole event was as caustic as this part.

watch it here

There is also a write up on the JohnsonBanks blog