Beyond Tellerrand Berlin 2017
A couple of weeks ago, a new edition of Beyond Tellerrand took place in Berlin. One-day workshop and a bunch of inspiring talks from experienced designers and developers from all around the world made this event really special.
This was the first time I attended to this specific event, but I was already at the Smashing Conference in Barcelona last year, so I knew that it was going to be pretty much the same thing in terms of organization. For those who don’t know how this works, we have a full-day workshop on Monday, followed by two days of talks, which makes the whole event a non-stop inspirational storm.
This year we had a brand new workshop from Vitaly Friedman at the Neue Mälzerei, an awesome building which was used one hundred years ago by a brewery to dry the malt for making beer. The workshop was called “Responsive Interface Design Bootcamp” and it was like it sounds: eight hours finding solutions to uncommon problems that we might face while designing responsive enterprise websites, like complex navigation systems, weird design patterns, dirty front-end tricks, exotic form processes, etc… but if I had to resume it, we basically learned that no matter how cool an interface is, there’s always a way to pass all the usability tests. Always.
Next two days we had the conference in the Admiralspalast, an average-sized theater full of hipsters, millennials, redbull and coffee made with 99,9% water. I liked very much the decoration and the graphic part of the event. Also liked very much the fact that the overacting DJ stopped playing his loud beats from time to time.
This year, the line up was great. We’ve started with Yiying Lu, a very talented award-winning chinese designer and illustrator which is working for Disney, Twitter, Microsoft, Sony and other big corporations. Loved her work and the way she approaches every project. Very inspiring showcase for me as illustrator.
Then we had a talk from Robin Christopherson about how to design for blind people. Wait, what the…? Design for blind people? He taught us how technology can make the life easier for people with disabilities. Cool, eh? Well, not so cool for us graphic designers.
Right before the lunch, there was a talk from Lin Clark, a code cartoonist from Mozilla. She takes code concepts and makes cartoons out of them in order to help others to understand really complex processes. During her talk, she explained what’s behind the new Firefox and why is going to be the fastest browser ever. I fear her drawings didn’t help too much in her extremely technical speak, but loved them.
When I started to work as designer, almost 30 years ago, we had a book in the studio with tons of designs and illustrations from the 60s and 70s. I remember to spend hours and hours looking at those psychedelic designs and never could imagine I would meet the author of that book here in Berlin. Paula Scher delighted us with her life lessons during one hour and it was just amazing.
Then it was like she opened the Pandora’s Box, because all the next speakers went there just to talk us about their success stories. Elliot Jay Stocks had a point when talked about productivity and creativity, and how creativity always seems to manifest itself at the wrong time.
Another success story came from Pip Jamieson, the founder of The Dots, a kind of LinkedIn for people who really work. I’m not really interested on creating a startup so it was a little bit boring for me. But she did it great anyway.
We also had a nice time with Mina Markham, the front-end architect from Hilary Clinton’s election campaign. She created Pantsuit, a pattern library used for that specific purpose. Although she had a lot of funny ups and downs during the process, her design system became very effective, gaining some spotlights in WIRED, Fast Company and Communication Arts.
If I had to choose a talk as the best one, I’d go for Yves Peters. He’s currently helping Adobe to implement a better user interface in order to manage advanced typography options inside Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. He explained the history of typefaces and also talked about the pros and cons of using OpenType fonts in the web.
Apart from that, we had more talks about prototypes, design systems, case studies, tricks, fails… no time to talk about all of them, better if you go there some day. Great content and great professionals which gave me a lot of stuff to think about. Thanks everyone who made these days such a great experience… and see you in the next one!