Thoughts on Smashing Conference, Oxford 2014

Last week I’ve got wonderful opportunity to participate in Smashing Conference in Oxford. It was nice experience, fun trip with friends from creativestyle and I want to share some thoughts and observations from it.


Yes, of course this is the most important part of the conference! Joking aside, but really. The show in the beginning was really amazing. Music, combined with lasers animation was created by digital artist Seb Lee-Delisle. I enjoyed the show quite a lot. I’ve also like the improvised speech by Seb, about canvas and animations. It got me inspiring also to play some with the canvas. Maybe I’ll share my results someday.

Tech talks

As usual, Smashing Conference hosted great speakers that were talking about interesting ideas.

Design talks

The talks focusing on the design also gave me some fresh look and ideas to improve.

Inspirational and though provoking

Finally, there were presentations that were inspiring and thought provoking. I value them most, because this is one of the main reasons for me to go to conferences. To stimulate creativity, to kick off the ground, to start thinking in new areas, to inspire and find new paths.

The final talk by Andrew Clark, talked about modern designer canvas. It was a bit nostalgic, sharing his lessons from the past, his tools, values and actions. Some insights about the thought process and inspiration to move forward.


Smashing Conference has great atmosphere. All people around were friendly and eager to talk. Everybody is sharing ideas. There was even pre-conf party day before with some additional small speeches that did not catch to the conference.

But to be said, I didn’t enjoy everything :-) Not all talks were perfect. Maybe I’ve also expected a little more deeper look into details. Guy Podjarny talking about images? I was expecting much more than summary and overview of image format & compression methods. Paul Boag was great host, but his constant jokes about book pitching got tiring quickly. I’ve also didn’t got his talk. Maybe I’m not working in the same world like he is. And I’m quite happy about it. But thats pretty much. Previous smashing conference make a little bit bigger impact on me.

Other highlights

Typekit had great idea to setup little typography & design corner in the chillout zone. It was quiet place to talk and look on the inspiring books from the industry. I’ve found some gems that I didn’t know earlier and now I can’t wait to look deeper into them.

The Old Town Hall in Oxford was special venue. It was looking spectacular inside and has great atmosphere. It was quite similar to the last Smashing Conference venue in Freiburg.

It was a little bit far to travel to Oxford from Kraków but it wasn’t that bad. We’ve got flight from Kraków, to Munich & London. Then using a shuttle bus we’ve got from Heathrow to the Oxford’s center.

Oxford itself is a nice city too. It was looking clean and greenish (even its just early spring now). There were lots of busses so the transportation was always smooth and simple. I really enjoyed stay here.

To wrap things up – Smashing Conference was great experience for me, I would really recommend it to anyone who is a Smashing Magazine reader and is looking for the inspiration in web design & development.

Written and maintained with ♥︎ — Jan Kraus, 2007 — 2019