4 Conferences You Should Attend


As we stride headlong into the summer months it’s time to take a breath and gear ourselves up for the upcoming fall/winter conference season. There’s a lot to look forward to.

As part of my role as Shopify Design Advocate, I have been lucky enough to attend a number of great events in 2014 including An Event Apart in Seattle (where we debuted our new Mike Kus designed t-shirts), Smashing Conf in the beautiful UK city of Oxford and of course Beyond Tellerrand in Dusseldorf Germany. All three were packed full of great sessions and many opportunities to meet new people and chat with Shopify users new and old.

We’ll be setting up shop at a number of events from late August onwards. Here’s my roundup of some events that you may wish to consider for the second half of 2014.

An Event Apart Chicago, USA: Aug. 25-27

AEA continues to bring those working at the forefront of the industry to cities around the US.

Taking place in Chicago the sixth annual instalment features sessions from Brad Frost talking “Atomic Design” and Kate Kiefer Lee on “Creating Content for Sensitive Situations” to those from my side of the ocean including Jon Hicks on his icon design process and regular AEA speaker Jeremy Keith on progressive enhancement.

If you have spare time before heading home I can thoroughly recommend you find 90 minutes and take an architectural boat tour - you won’t regret it.

Reasons to Be Creative, Brighton, UK: Aug. 31 - Sept. 3

Taking place over four days in the English coastal town of Brighton, itself a hot bed of web and design companies, “Reasons” is a three track event which mixes the worlds of web, design, illustration, photography and more.

I am a firm believer that hearing from people working in other creative industries is both refreshing and inspiring. Last years evening “Inspire” sessions from Jon Burgerman and Eric Spiekermann were certainly both.

Reasons also gives those wishing to move from the side of the stage to the centre the opportunity to present for 3 minutes to the main stage on a topic of their choice - winners from 2013 return this year to present a full session.

Brighton has lots to offer visitors. Great food, great coffee, great bars and of course the opportunity to promenade along the front to clean out the cobwebs before heading to the conference.

Brooklyn Beta Brooklyn, USA: Oct. 8-10

The fifth and final BB takes place in Brooklyn in its traditional October slot. Little is known at this stage as to the format, the speakers or the attendees. Don’t be surprised - it’s part of it’s charm.

Organized by Fictive Kinsman's Chris Shiflett and Cameron Koczon, Brooklyn Beta is a soon-to-be-no-more annual pilgrimage for many working in the web, design and creative industries. Previous instalments have included sessions by Tony Fadell, the mayor of New Jersey, host of This American Life Ira Glass and Seth Godin.

Go for the people, go for the food, go for the inspiration. If you haven’t been lucky enough to grab a ticket come along and join in the many fringe events organised around the event.

Last year Shopify invaded the Holstee offices for a fun afternoon session with James Victore and a grilled cheese truck. The two were sadly unrelated. We may well return in 2014.

Beyond Tellerrand Berlin, Germany: Nov. 3-5

If you fancy a trip into the heart of Europe I recommend heading to Berlin for the first ever Beyond Tellerrand outside Dusseldorf.

Describing itself as an event about web design, development and more BT, as it’s known, heads from it’s usual home to the German capital for a second annual instalment. Confirmed speakers include Stefan Sagmeister, John Allsopp, Tim Kadlec and Andrew Clarke.

Marc Thiele, the man behind the Tellerrand, knows how to run a great event. The evening sessions are a highlight - be sure to attend if you can. And don’t worry if your school German isn’t up to par as all sessions are conducted in English.

Be sure to tack on an extra day in Berlin - it’s a wonderful city.

There’s so many great events on the calendar now that it’s a hard choice to narrow it down to just a handful. We’ll be reporting back on the events we attend. Of course if you would like to share your experiences via a guest post please let us know.

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