Awwwards there and back. Amsterdam edition.

Kate Pashinova • Senior UX & Visual Designer

This year started for me with an impatiently anticipated event. Two of the places I planned to visit at some point in my life merged together in space and time.

Awwwards conference, known by many digital professionals thanks to the website, was held this year in laid-back Amsterdam. Such a mixture of high quality inspiration, knowledge sharing and overall time well-spent would have been a shame to miss.

Now, while waiting for my flight back to Helsinki, I can finally take a break and focus on the exciting past two days. Getting out there is crucial for any creative person. Simply to get a fresh perspective on things, a dose of inspiration and let your mind have a proper stir up.

The most memorable highlights

When keeping your eyes wide open, it’s generally hard to miss a thing. But many would agree that conferences often are rather exhausting. Non-stop flow of information, visual porn and artistic videos almost causing epileptic seizures make you a bit high after a while. Nevertheless, some talks have a stronger impact than others. 

Here are my top five highlights of this weekend. 

First day started with

  • Josh Brewer, the former Principal Designer of Twitter, going through "The Centrality of Design". It's truly a balm to every designer's soul seeing how the design industry adapts and evolves to the evergrowing demand from all the adjacent fields. Josh gave a holistic overview of what is happening in the digital industry, what are the pitfalls and most promising directions to follow.

  • Then, Anrick Bregman from Unit9 showcased an impressive way to create VR with 360º immersive cameras and CGI. Their website is a gemstone for people into VR and technology. Check out the Lexus Elevate project and A Survival Experience for Oculus Rift below

*Every person living in Finland plays that Storm game 8 months out of the year :) *

  • David Vogel, rooted his UX Design related talk back to the ideas of Plato and Aristotle on Holism and Reductionism. Two contrary concepts, using the relationships between the components; their interconnectedness, interdependencies and interactions, contributing to the understanding of the whole piece. In relation to UX methods and processes, this point of view, was an eye-opening interpretation. My perception of a User Experience Flow Map will never be the same.

  • Bart Van de Wiele presented an upcoming Adobe product, Project Comet. I've been looking forward to seeing the live performance of this tool and it didn't dissapoint! My guess: every UX Designer will have it at their disposal once the beta is out. It's as if Sketch and Principle had a baby. They should have called it Skenciple. 

  • Bjarne Christensen from StupidStudio gave a very insightful, energetic talk of how to handle client relationships with everyone's interest in mind and aim for project's success. Bjarne totally stole my attention with his charisma and eye-catching content, so I sort of forgot to take notes and photos.

The rest 13 were as exciting as the mentioned five. But if I put them all here, someone might come after me for not being down to the point ;) In any case, make sure to take a look at the full program and check out the rest by yourself.

The takeaways

What's great about events like this, gathering together the best of the best among passionate pixel visionaries and industry evangelists, is the range of choices. Choices that help you obtain what's lost or missing. Whether it's just a sense of inspiration, tips to master a new technology or terra incognita in the adjacent practices. Contrary to popular belief, a conference never feels like a holiday, but it fuels you up for future achievements.

The next Awwwards event is scheduled for mid-June in New York. If you still wonder whether it's a worthy experience...stop wondering, it's totally badass.

Gates are closing in 30 minutes...oops I better run now.

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