The First Smashing Conference: A Community Event For Web Designers

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. When he is not writing, he’s most probably running front-end & UX … More about Vitaly ↬

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Probably the most remarkable characteristic of our Web design community is that we care about our craft. We care about best practices, about our work, about learning, sharing and improving our skills.

This very spirit is the driving force behind our daily work at Smashing Magazine, and this spirit is what has prompted us to organize the very first Smashing Conference: a friendly, valuable and inspiring community event that will help us all become better at what we do.

Further Reading on SmashingMag:

Whether you are a designer, developer, content strategist or business owner, at the Smashing Conference you’ll explore insights hands on and gain practical tips and new perspectives on our craft. We are very happy to provide an opportunity for you to share and gain practical knowledge in an intimate, informal atmosphere — right in our beautiful home town of Freiburg, Germany, at the foot of the legendary Black Forest.

The legendary Historical Merchants Hall, a late-Gothic building built between 1520 and 1530. Its façade is decorated with statues and the coat of arms of four Habsburg emperors. An exquisite location for the very first Smashing Conference. Image credit.

When and Where?

We’re delighted to invite you to come together for this inspiring, forward-thinking event on 17 to 19 September 2012. The conference will host a two-day single-track conference on September 17th and 18th, as well as three workshops on September 19th. By “we,” we mean Vitaly Friedman, editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine, and Marc Thiele, who has been running community events such as beyond tellerrand for over 12 years.

The aim of the event is to deliver the same high-quality content that we deliver on Smashing Magazine, in the familiar atmosphere that beyond tellerrand events are known for. This will be a high-caliber yet friendly event that brings great value to everyone involved, and we’d be honored if you took a part in it.

The conference will take place in Freiburg, Germany at the legendary Historical Merchants Hall at the foot of the Black Forest.

The main hall of the venue. 350 tickets are available in all for our two-day single-track event. Image credit

Keeping the conference affordable for everyone is important to us. All tickets includes two full single-track conference days, on Monday and Tuesday. Please note that only 350 seats are available.

We are pleased to announce that the first 70 early-bird tickets are on sale for a price of €249. The regular price after that is €349. And all prices include the German VAT of 19% and booking fees! Get your ticket now before it’s too late. We’d be honored to meet you in September!

Get your ticket!

Speakers and Topics

If you’ve been following Smashing Magazine for a while, then you won’t be surprised by the focus of the Smashing Conference. We’re aiming to cover a wide variety of Web design topics, such as visual design, front- and back-end development, UX design, mobile, responsive design, the business aspects of running a website, as well as the intricate details of the designer and developer’s workflows. We’re encouraging our dear speakers to share details on how they work, what tools they use, and what their design and coding process looks like. We’re aiming for valuable, practical and inspiring talks.

We’ve handpicked all of the speakers to ensure the high quality of the event. So far, 10 out of 15 speakers are officially confirmed. Please note that the topics presented here are subject to change. More details on the conference, speakers, talks and workshops are available on the conference’s official website.


Aarron WalterThe Real Me
Aarron WalterAarron Walter is the lead user experience designer for MailChimp, where he socializes with primates and ponders ways to make interfaces more human. Aarron is the author of Designing for Emotion, the purple stripe in the rainbow of knowledge from A Book Apart. He lives with his wife and son in Athens, Georgia, and is a wannabe barista. He tweets about design under the moniker @aarron.
Chris HeilmannTo be announced
Christian HeilmannChris Heilmann has dedicated a lot of his time to making the Web better. Originally from a radio journalism background, he built his first website from scratch in around 1997, and he spent the following years working on a lot of large international websites, and a few years at Yahoo building products and training people; he is now at Mozilla. Chris has written and contributed to four books on Web development and has written many articles and hundreds of blog posts for Ajaxian, Smashing Magazine, Yahoo, Mozilla, ScriptJunkie and many more.
Jeremy KeithThe Spirit of the Web
Jeremy KeithJeremy Keith makes websites. He is responsible for the death of the trees used to print the books DOM Scripting, Bulletproof Ajax and, most recently, HTML5 for Web Designers. He also shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. Originally from Ireland, Jeremy now lives in Brighton, England where he pretends to work with Clearleft. Peas grow there.
Jonathan SnookYour CSS Is a Mess
Jonathan SnookJonathan Snook writes about tips, tricks and bookmarks on his blog. He has also written for A List Apart, 24ways, and .net magazine, and he has coauthored two books, The Art and Science of CSS and Accelerated DOM Scripting. Most recently, Snook has written the eBook SMACSS, sharing his experience and best practices on CSS architecture. Snook also works on the design team at Shopify.
Josh BrewerResponsive Is as Responsive Does
Josh BrewerJosh spends his time thinking about, designing and building things that live at the intersection of form, function and aesthetic. He is principal designer at Twitter and is the co-creator of 52 Weeks of UX, Ffffallback and Shares. He is also an advisor and mentor at The Designer Fund.
Lea VerouTo be announced
Lea VerouLea has a long-standing passion for open Web standards and has been often called a CSS guru. She loves researching new ways to take advantage of modern Web technologies, and she shares her findings on her blog. Lea also makes popular tools and libraries that help Web developers learn and use these standards. She speaks at a number of well-known international Web development conferences and writes for leading industry publications. Lea also co-organized and occasionally lectures in the Web development course at the Athens University of Economics and Business.
Paul BoagBetter Websites, Happier Clients and Improved Job Satisfaction
Paul BoagPaul Boag has been working on the Web since 1993. He is Web Strategist at Headscape Ltd, a Web design agency that he cofounded back in 2002. Paul also produces and hosts the longest-running and award-winning Web design podcast at boagworld. He is a regular speaker at conferences and author of Client-Centric Web Design.
Rachel AndrewThe Future of Content Management
Rachel AndrewRachel Andrew is a front- and back-end Web developer, author and speaker. Her books include the bestselling CSS Anthology for SitePoint, and she is a regular contributor to a number of publications both online and off, including Smashing Magazine. She writes about business and technology on her own website.
Stephen HayTo be announced
Stephen HayStephen has been designing and developing for the Web since 1995. He currently helps clients with front-end design and development, multi-platform strategy and accessibility through his consultancy, Zero Interface. Aside from his client work, he can be found speaking at industry events about Web design-related topics such as CSS layout and responsive design workflow. Stephen is co-organizer of Mobilism, one of the world’s leading mobile Web development conferences. He is also co-creator of Grip Workshops, a series of two-day intensive workshops for Web project managers on the client side.

Stephen has written for publications including A List Apart and .net Magazine. He also coauthored the Smashing Book 3 with a host of super-talented folks. When he makes the time for it, he publishes his thoughts on The Haystack.

Tim AhrensWeb Fonts Backstage and On Stage
Tim Ahrens Tim Ahrens is a type designer based in Berlin, where he runs Just Another Foundry with Shoko Mugikura. As a former architect, he is interested in the interplay between technology and design. He develops design software such as the Font Remix Tools and Web applications such as the FontFonter. Since 2010, he has been working as a consultant for Typekit.
Aarron WalterChristian HeilmannJeremy KeithJonathan SnookJosh BrewerLea VerouPaul BoagRachel AndrewStephen HayTim AhrensGallery of the speakers at the Smashing Conference.


Aarron WalterInterface Design Bootcamp
Aarron WalterWhether you are designing a Web app or website, following best practices and standard design methodologies will help ensure that your interfaces are usable and engaging. In this workshop, we’ll explore the design process in detail, including user research, wireframing, prototyping and visual design. Through real-world examples, you’ll see how an idea can evolve into an interface.
Andy ClarkeFashionably Flexible Responsive Web Design
Andy ClarkeResponsive design has made designing flexible websites fashionable again, but there is more to being fashionably flexible than technology or using CSS3 media queries. So, this unique workshop — hosted by Andy Clarke, designer, author and speaker — puts the design back into responsive design. Andy will teach you how to design from the “content out,” instead of from the “canvas in.” He’ll demonstrate how to separate design from layout; and if you work with designs made in Photoshop, he’ll show how to deconstruct a design into its components (color, texture and typography) before reassembling it for a fluid continuum of devices, from phones to desktops and everything in between.
Jonathan SnookSMACSS: Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS
Jonathan SnookThe SMACSS workshop is a full day of instruction and exercises on writing HTML and CSS using a flexible and modular approach that will improve team efficiency and minimize problems with growing projects. It brings the eBook to life with practical examples and in-depth discussion.
Aarron WalterAndy ClarkeJonathan Snook
Gallery of the workshop experts at the Smashing Conference.

Further Details About the Conference

As we finalize some major details of organization, we are working hard on a plethora of small details to make the event as valuable and memorable as possible. Please expect more speakers to be confirmed soon and more topics to be announced.

Also, we are looking for sponsors of the event, so if you are interested, please get in touch with us. More details on the location, hotels, speakers, talks, workshops and after party are presented on the official Smashing Conference website.

Historical Merchants Hall
One of the workshop rooms, with medieval decoration and statues of medieval knights. 30 seats are available for each workshop. Image credit.


  • In a nutshell: The Smashing Conference is a friendly, valuable and inspiring community event that will help designers and developers become better in their work, be it front- or back-end development, UX design, content strategy or running a business.
  • Dates: 17 to 19 September 2012 (workshops on the 19th, and conference on the 17th and 18th).
  • Venue for workshops and conference: “Zum Roten Bären”, Historical Merchants Hall, Freiburg.
  • Early-bird price (only 70 tickets): €249 ($315) (including German VAT and fees).
  • Regular price: €349 ($440) (including German VAT and fees).
  • Each workshop costs €349 ($440) (including German VAT and fees).
  • Twitter: @smashingconf
  • Facebook:
  • Website:
"Zum Roten Bären", one of the locations for the conference's workshops. Large view.

We’re very excited about the Smashing Conference, and we’ll do our best to make it a valuable, memorable and useful event. We can’t wait to meet you, and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about participation or sponsorship.