Notes from the Insites Tour 2011 Bristol

Last Wednesday I finally got over myself and registered last-minute for the final leg of the Insites Tour 2011. This Bristol event featured three of my Web heros:

Mike Kus (@mikekus), whose playful and rich Web designs detest the fact that he discovered the Web as his new favourite medium just four years ago.

Elliot Jay Stocks (@elliotjaystocks), whose quirky illustrations capture the personality of a site and who just started a brave new print adventure for the typographically inclined.

Jon Tan (@jontangerine), a typophile and globe-trotter whose advances in Web typography and map-based storytelling make the Web a more beautiful place.

Since I always get lost in Bristol I was so happy to find the Watershed in time. This turned out to be a great venue, taking full advantage of the crazy weather sound effects that we experience last week. ;)

It took me some time to reconcile the fact that these accomplished guys are human beings after all. The realisation got me into productive mode and I started capturing some of the insights the speakers shared during the discussion and interviews. Here are a few of my sketchy notes and take aways from the evening:

Mike Kus

  • work begets more of the same work, because you build up a reputation in that specific thing
  • ergo: put stuff into your portfolio that you want to work in / produce more of
  • showcase your best work in your portfolio
  • things Mike considers when designing a Web site: (among others)
    • personality of a site
    • process has to be seamless (for the user)
    • flow of use
    • user journey
    • no tech restrictions
    • do something visually interesting with a sites
    • visual vs functional aspects

Jon Tan

  • for any site of substance you have to work with other people
  • Collaboration is key
  • is a personal mnemonic & storytelling service
  • quality (in Web design) ➔ a long term, close-up thing (multi-layered experience)
  • example: perception of ebook quality; poorly typeset ebooks ➔ bad experience is associated with the value of the content
  • familiarity & use over time influence the experience of a Web site
  • Amygdala (part of the limbic system, i.e. the old, reptile brain, which provides rapid, emotional reactions) understands design / music / … where there is no language
  • appeal on an emotional level ➔ visceral reaction ➔ one part of a relationship / design experience, the other, rational part is the multi-layered
  • on (design) manifestos: design is more than selling stuff, i.e. advertising (make design matter!); everybody should have/create their own manifesto about what is important to them (about design)
  • style = formal
  • tone = is the emotional side: designers set the tone through the design

Elliot Jay Stock

  • writing, speaking, embracing the community raise the profile
  • expressing an opinion raises the profile
  • getting the name out there through blogging & speaking
  • speak & blog for yourself
  • side projects are important
  • 8Faces started out as a side project
  • giving back to the community is important & fun

The speakers talked about much more and the audience contributed to the conversation by asking further questions. These are just the titbits I managed to type into my phone in between chatting to people, eating pizza and listening to the speakers.

During the goodie give-away I was blessed with a Deploy account which, Insites co-host Keir Whitaker (@keirwhitaker) assured me, will change my life. (I will report on that in time…) As I am usually not lucky when it comes to winning stuff, I was super surprised and look forward to checking the service out. In addition to some delicious pizza & drinks the organisers bestowed gorgeous letterpressed coasters designed by Aaron Robbs (@aaronrobbs) upon the audience.

I met some lovely folks from the Bristol Web community and enjoyed the first instalment of the tour!

Details & meta

Mon, 25/07/2011 - 11:02