During the last week of October, I was fortunate enough to attend the Smashing Conference in the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain. The conference was held at the breathtaking venue, Palau de la Música Catalana and covered a wide range of design topics ranging from the more practical to the truly inspirational.

In this blog post, I would like to share some the highlights.

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

Before getting into the talks, I wanted to share with you the fantastic job the organizers did with the event.

THE VENUE

I honestly can’t say this enough but everything about the Palau de la Música Catalana was absolutely stunning. The building is rich in history and I constantly found myself getting lost in the details during the talks.

Even with so many architectural moments, the one that stood out the most for me was the skylight situated in the center of the concert hall. This was simply mesmerizing to behold with how intricate the design was. This is definitely something I will never forget.

 

 

THE FUN DETAILS

What fun is a design conference without a chocolate fountain? Yes, there was really a chocolate fountain there which was very popular with the attendees. Aside from the great selection of snacks, there was also a party held at the Estrella Brewery and a typography photo walk to cap off the conference.

 

 

TALK HIGHLIGHTS

Although all the talks were great in their own way, two of them really resonated with me. Jina Bolton’s talk on “Living Design Systems” and Andrew Tider & Jeff Greenspan’s “We’ll teach you everything we don’t know”.

LIVING DESIGN SYSTEMS

This talk hit especially close to home since it was directly related to working on Firefox OS. When creating an operating system, one of the biggest issues is maintaining consistency across all applications and components. A lot of the times. you’ll find graphical discrepancies because a specification wasn’t followed or there is simply a lack of documentation or support.

What the Jina and her team at Salesforce did was create a living design system that provided a cross platform approach to handling graphical components in a modular manner. This made updates to the design instant to all parties using it.

The talk provided some great examples and I hope to integrate some of it into the Firefox OS work being done. There so much more to it then what I’m sharing so please check out her blog post here for more info.

 

WE’LL TEACH EVERYTHING WE DON’T KNOW

On the other end of the spectrum was a much more emotionally inspirational talk by Andrew Tider and Jeff Greenspan. These two designers turned activists created some of the most eye opening projects that help bring to light topics that were generally swept under the rug.

They spoke about their unconventional approach to tackling problems (which in many cases really paid off with a bit a drama) and to always traveling the road less taken.

You can check out their talk here.

CLOSING

Overall the conference was a fantastic experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested.

Before I sigh off, I just wanted to say that if you ever get the opportunity to visit Barcelona, do not hesitate. It was truly a memorable experience that I will never forget.