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My takeaways from attending the Awwwards Conference in Amsterdam

February 25, 2020

I spent the last week at the Awwwards Conference in Amsterdam; it was delightful, insightful and incredibly inspiring. My main takeaways from the week were;

1. The best speakers are humble.

The talks I enjoyed the most were by beautiful people who were extremely humble even though they are unbelievably good at what they do. The opposite is true to this statement too.

2. Plenty of inspiration.

People all around the world are doing awesome stuff. I have seen designs that were marvellous and inspirational. Bravo to you who are doing great things. Keep it up and keep inspiring the rest of us.

3. Step away from the crowd.

We, as designers, need to make the web enjoyable again, there is too much of the same thing going on. Template after template, copy after copy, have made most of the sites we create homogeneous to the eye. Now there are good reasons for this such as usability etc. etc. but why can’t we do things differently, step away from the crowd, and let your imagination run wild. Henry Daubrez talked about how they created the Dogstudio agency website, and it is a beautiful example of doing something different.

4. Do side projects.

They are an excellent source of exploration and creativity. Do wait for good projects to come to you, find them, and do something you love. A lot of inspiring work came from side projects that igniting passion and creative thinking. Two talks that emphasised this and produced wonderful projects are Canals of Amsterdam by Marcus Brown or Esperanto by Robin Noguier. 🤘🤘

5. Duo talks are generally not the best.

I hate to be honest, but it is true. The best presentations were by a single person. Teams of two speakers generally lacked cohesion, passion, and storytelling.

6. Think outside of tech.

We, as designers, should be able to create experiences that don’t solely rely on a user interface. Kika Douglas told a beautiful example of this is how they made children’s car journeys more entertaining using by creating personalised audio stories based on what kids can see from a car. 👏👏👏

7. Cocktail party ≠ cocktails.

Seemingly a cocktail party doesn’t mean there will be actual cocktails. 😿💔

I would recommend going to an Awwwards conference. It was great to be inspired and to gain invaluable insights from some of the best designers in the world. I think this was the push I needed to start doing my own side projects. Thank you to all who attended and shared their knowledge. You are kind for doing so, and make the world a better place.

I wrote this while waiting on my early morning flight out of Amsterdam, so I’d imagine the grammar and spelling is plain awful. I don’t care.

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