Although a relative newcomer to the web-design conference scene, the Awwwards Conference in Amsterdam was nothing but inspiring, professional and educational throughout. After eventually locating the conference venue in true British tourist style i.e late, we were welcomed into the grand entrance hall of the Royal Tropical Institute by some friendly members of the Awwwards team and proceeded to collect our name badges from a giant cardboard construction in the middle of room, surrounded by fresh coffee and breakfast snacks. At this point it was clear we were in for a fantastic couple of days and the talks and networking events that followed certainly didn’t disappoint.
The first day of the event kicked off with an eye-opening talk from Anrick Bregman of Unit-9, giving a run through of the incredible work they’ve been doing in the VR space. If that wasn’t enough to get everyone’s brains ticking, this was immediately followed by Josh Payton from Huge giving some high-energy insights into the processes and projects at one of the most globally respected agencies. To wrap up the day, the guys from MediaMonks took to the stage, explaining the importance of combining video production and web to truly connect users to a brand.
The morning of the second day provided a real mixed bag of speakers, one of my personal highlights was Greg Barth, who gave a very personal and honest account of his career and how creating a personal project on a shoe-string budget paved the way for the mind-blowing portfolio of work we see today. This was followed by Patrick Hamann, providing some practical ideas on site optimisation and speed enhancements. The day ended with a presentation by Kris and Simon from Resn. This was a personal favourite of mine, not only down to the projects they showcased (Zero Landfill and work for Adidas), but the theme of the talk, explaining the importance of designing for the concept and client rather than our own personal design ambitions. They also touched on their ideology of pushing boundaries and rethinking our perceptions of what a website truly is, a concept that went down very well with the highly creative audience.
To top off a fantastic couple of days of talks we were moved on to a former chapel converted into an events venue for an evening of networking, buffet and open bar. Providing the perfect opportunity to pick the brains of some of the award winners and speakers.
In reflection our biggest takeaway from the event was the realisation that we are entering an exciting, new age of web design that encourages the experimental, welcomes the wacky and embraces the integration of new media. Not forgetting the epic selection of edible dutch treats that were provided over the course of the 2 days!