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Smashing Conf San Francisco

We use ad-blockers as well, you know. We gotta keep those servers running though. Did you know that we publish useful books and run friendly conferences — crafted for pros like yourself? E.g. upcoming SmashingConf San Francisco, dedicated to smart front-end techniques and design patterns.

Smashing Conference Live — Day 1

During the two days of the Smashing Conference1, we will provide you with insights, photos and highlights on Smashing Magazine — live from the conference venue. Our team will be posting updates from the early morning to the late evening on both dates to bring you as close to the conference as possible. You can also track the tweets from the conference by following the hashtag #smashingconf and permalink for the live updates2.


Bookmark this page to follow the auto-updates in real-time. Please notice that no live stream is available, but all videos will be made available for free after the event. You might want to check the schedule of the conference as well.

Monday, September 17th 2012


What a fantastic, fantastic day at the very first Smashing Conference. Mark Boulton just crowned the conference day with a truly inspiring talk. It’s time for a party now. Thank you all for following us and see you tomorrow!

“The design process is weird and complicated because it involves people, who are weird and complicated.” — Mark Boulton


A view at the conference from the top. A fantastic photo by blumenberg4.

A view from the top


“Skeumorphism is festering everywhere like a virus. WHO KEEPS TO-DO LISTS ON A PLANK!?” — Mark Boulton


“Trends are bullshit. If you want to be in a trendy industry, go work in fashion, not Web design.” — Mark Boulton


A couple of photos from our great friend and attendee John Davey5.

Smashing Conference
Smashing Conference
Smashing Conference


Last talk of the evening after a break by Mark Boulton. What a fantastic, entertaining talk!

Smashing Conference
Smashing Conference
Smashing Conference


“When you’ve got a slow internet connection, it’s like watching a one-legged dog play fetch. It’s depressing.” — Jake Archibald


A couple of fantastic photos from the Smashing Conference attendees. Now, what a fantastic day, and what a fantastic audience! Image credits: depone6, kontour7, Kahili Lechelt8.

Photos by attendees
Photos by attendees
Photos by attendees
Photos by attendees
Photos by attendees


“Who doesn’t have JavaScript? Everyone doesn’t have javascript until the JavaScript is loaded.” — Jake Archibald

Jake Archibald


Jake Archibald is as entertaining as always. “Offlinification. Appcache support: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, iOS, Android 2.1+, BB 6+, Opera Mobile.

Jake Archibald


“Client communication best practices: avoid misunderstandings, don’t just use email, be honest.” — Paul Boag


“Not all clients come ready-packed as good. Some of them need upgrading.” — Paul Boag


“If you know what HTTP stands for, that makes you… interesting.” — Paul Boag


“We’re a service industry. The client must be involved, it’s about the client, not the user.” — Paul Boag (Image credit9)

Paul Boag
Paul Boag


Some snacks to accompany the drinks and the British Paul Boag’s sens of humour. Now, that’s the preparation for the beer afterwards! Image source10.



“Client work offers unique challenges: exposure to different industries and people, fast-paced, exciting.” — Paul Boag


“Don’t pretend the client is the issue — Paul Boag wants Web designers to change attitude.” — Paul Boag


Uh-oh. Paul Boag has just started screaming. Ah right, that’s how excited he is about client work.


“In SaSS, use @extend if a relationship is implied and use @include if one is not.” — via Nicole Sullivan.


Concentrated attendees at Nicole’s talk. Probably the most technical talk we’ve had so far. Nicole is sharing her experiences with SASS and SASS for optimizing CSS code.



“The Inception Rule: never go more than three levels deep with nesting in SASS.” — Nicole Sullivan


Nicole Sullivan on stage, speaking about SASS and OOCSS.

Nicole Sullivan


“Facebook has 2 Mb of CSS.” — Nicole Sullivan


“Designing in the present is about finding the balance between borrowing from the past and looking towards the future.” — Oliver Reichenstein


“Nostalgia is a thriving industry: Mad Men, Lana Del Ray, Amy Winehouse, Instagram, etc, etc, etc. Designing in the present is about finding the balance between borrowing from the past and looking towards the future.” — Oliver Reichenstein


The Smashing Lounge is getting quite popular, especially among speakers.



Oliver Reichenstein (@iA11) on stage, starting with a scene from Mad Men.



Great to get outside during the lunch break! This is how the Smashing flags look like at the building.



Time for a lunch break before Oliver Reichenstein gets on the stage. Many attendees went to the Minster market to get some traditional Freiburger sausages!

Oliver coming up next


“Command line vs Photoshop: command line is friendly and even says your name!” — Stephen Hay


“Are you scared designers? Here comes the command line!” — Stephen Hay


“Developers have a wealth of all sorts of great tools, while designers have…Photoshop.” — Stephen Hay


Stephen Hay is on stage talking about style guides being the new Photoshop. “We need two things in order to replace Photoshop: static web prototypes and style guides. Pattern libraries are not style guides. Style guides explain when and how to use a particular pattern.” — Stephen Hay



“You wouldn’t give clients Dreamweaver to update sites, so why do we give them a CMS that mimics that behavior?” — Rachel Andrew.



“Avoid inserting raw HTML into your content at all costs. Clean content is far more portable.” — Rachel Andrew.


“A giant blank text area is terrible UX. Remember, our content creators are our users too!” — Rachel Andrew.


“CMS allows designers to make semantic decisions so the editor doesn’t have to.” — Rachel Andrew.


Rachel Andrew on stage, talking about the future of content management systems. “A CMS should help content editors make good decisions.”

Rachel Andrew


Jeremy explains how he avoided responsive images altogether by introducing multiple columns instead of scaling up images. (via Brad Frost)


To designers: “The Web is responsive by default, you make design decisions that screw it up!” — Jeremy Keith.


“Progressive enhancement isn’t about designing for the lowest common denominator. It’s just about starting there.” — Jeremy Keith.


“There is a difference between support and optimization”. — Brad Frost


We’ve set up a Smashing Lounge with our sofas and tables for attendees to get some work done. Happy surfing! (vf)

Smashing Lounge
Smashing Lounge
Smashing Lounge


It’s weird to see most people not using laptops or mobile phones while Jeremy Keith is speaking. Jeremy Keith definitely draws attention to his talk. (vf)


Jeremy Keith on stage, talking about the Spirit of the Web.

Jeremy Keith

Jeremy Keith


People are enjoying the Smashing Lounge, having a morning coffee and charging their devices for the upcoming first talks… Pay us a visit if you are around! (sp)


The opening titles for the Smashing Conference are now available online. Designed by the fantastic team by Joaquín Urbina from No-Domain12 from Barcelona, Spain. Thank you, guys, for the fantastic work!

The room is filling with truly smashing attendees! And the coffee seems to be quite popular as well. The first speaker after the Welcome note is Jeremy Keith13. (vf)

Smashing Conference


The registration opens! It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day. Last check-ups. And yep, we’ve produced the flags to put on the building as well. Exciting! (vf)

Smashing Conference
Smashing Conference
Smashing Conference
Smashing Conference
Smashing Conference
Smashing Conference
Smashing Conference


Here we go. Waking up early, adding photos to the post and double checking the introduction slides. The Smashing Conference is coming! (vf)

Sunday, September 16th 2012 Link

Sunday, 20:48
Speaker dinner up in the hills of Freiburg. On the left: Josh Brewer, Mark Boulton, Oliver Reichenstein. On the right: Jeremy Keith. Yep, his thoughts are far, far away. And no, it wasn’t as boring as this picture looks like — on the contrary, it looked like some speakers were having the time of their lives!

Speaker Dinner

Sunday, 19:30
Finally, almost all 16 speakers have arrived safely. Most of them had to deal with delayed flights and trains, but we picked them up ourselves. Well, and almost all are right in time before the speaker dinner! Waiting outside the hotel.

The Speaker dinner

Sunday, 18:44
The Smashing Crew’s t-shirts. If someone has a question or needs assistance, we’ll be easy to recognize by the orange t-shirt. Time for a photos break. We’ve got to set things up.

The Smashing Crew

Sunday, 17:02
Final checks at the conference venue. All bags and badges are waiting for attendees inside. Setting up Wi-Fi, testing slides, checking audio and light, preparing for registrations, drinks, snacks and sponsors stands. If you look closely at the venue, you might be able to detect some fine details. The building, Historical Merchants Hall, was built between 1520 and 1530. (vf)

The walls

In the venue


Main Venue

Sunday, 16:45
Flyers for attendees with directions to the party. (vf)

Preparations for the Conference

Sunday, 16:34
The t-shirts, lanyards, badges, stickers, bags and swag are ready. (vf)

Preparations for the Conference

Sunday, 11:14
Our team at Andy Clarke’s workshop. Andrew (on the left), our eBook manager, and Iris, our senior editor. It looks like they are having fun as well! (vf)

Andrew and Iris

Sunday, 10:16
Andy Clarke’s first workshop. All seats are taken. The reason why we had to organize the workshop on Sunday is that the first workshop which Andy will host on Wednesday was fully booked within 2 weeks. We had to be creative and organized a pre-workshop on Sunday. (vf)

Andy Clarke's Workshop

Saturday, September 15th 2012 Link

Saturday, 22:44
The first speakers have arrived. A pre-warm party near the venue. On the right: Andy Clarke, Brad Frost and Jonathan Snook. And yes, that’s a schnitzel. (vf)

First speakers

Saturday, 19:45
First attendees are arriving in Freiburg. For most of them, travelling to Freiburg isn’t easy, and quite time-consuming. Freiburg has many beautiful sides, one of them are beautiful cobbled streets in the city centre. A photo by John Davey. (source). (vf)


Friday, September 14th 2012 Link

Friday, 13:37
Packing, packing, packing. The conference welcome 350 attendees, and each of them has to have a bag ready for them at the registration. It took quite a while for Lisa to prepare the bags, but she doesn’t look very annoyed.



Friday, 13:30

After months of planning and preparations, the conference is finally coming. The Smashing Conference14 — our first two-day community event for Web designers and developers in our home town Freiburg, Germany — is starting today. Back in May, we have invited15 our dear community to come together to share and gain practical knowledge in an intimate, informal atmosphere. Admittedly, we haven’t expected that all 350 tickets will be gone within two weeks.

Preparations for the Conference

We’re extremely excited and happy to welcome 16 fantastic speakers such as Andy Clarke, Rachel Andrew, Aarron Walter, Christian Heilmann, Jeremy Keith, Oliver Reichenstein, Lea Verou, Mark Boulton or Paul Boag as well as remarkable attendees from all parts of the world. The conference is a big deal for us, but we want you to be a part of it as well.

During the two days of the Smashing Conference, we will provide you with insights, photos and highlights from the conference venue live on Smashing Magazine website. Our team will be posting updates from the early morning to the late evening on both dates to bring you as close to the conference as possible. You can also track the tweets from the conference by following the hashtag #smashingconf.

Bookmark this page to follow the auto-updates in real-time. Please notice that no live stream is available, but all videos will be made available for free after the event.

The conference takes place in Freiburg, Germany at the legendary Historical Merchants Hall16 at the foot of the Black Forest. The two-day single-track conference will present talks on September 17th and 18th, as well as three workshops on September 19th.

Facts Link

We’re very excited about the Smashing Conference, and we wish you attended the conference as well. Please share in the comments what exactly you’d like us to post, and feel free to submit your questions for speakers as well. We’re looking forward to the two inspiring and exciting conference days!

Footnotes Link

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The Smashing team loves high-quality content and cares about the little details. Through our online articles, Smashing Books, eBooks as well as Smashing Conferences, we are committed to stimulating creativity and strengthening the web design community’s creative forces.

  1. 1

    Kelvin Castelino

    September 17, 2012 7:29 am

    Wasnt able to be a part of it in person, lest, let me just follow up on the updates, and surely try to make it the next time! :)

  2. 2

    Good luck guys! That venue looks gorgeous btw.

  3. 3

    I wish I was here.

    Any plans of doing this in India? Delhi is a great city. Or you could even consider Agra – The city of the Taj Mahal.

    I tell you, you should seriously think about this!

  4. 4

    Chathura Asanga Kulasinghe

    September 17, 2012 11:44 am

    It really looks awesome!!! I am sure that it has been a wonderful time, which you enjoyed and learnt so many things! Venue also looks so much smashing—and I wish to join you guys at least on next time…

  5. 5

    hey please to see this here in my city… but sad i could not be able to attend this conference. I skipped it ):

  6. 6

    Mike McGrail (@mike_mcgrail)

    September 17, 2012 3:00 pm

    What a beautiful venue! The talks sound excellent too. The UK is crying out for a conf like this!

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  8. 8

    Chathura Asanga Kulasinghe

    September 18, 2012 5:43 am

    Having seen these stuff, now I am seriously thinking of finding a job and stay in Germany. Because, I would never miss a single Smashing thing, if I could make it to there! I found about Smashingmagazine by accident—but the very first glimpse made me stay, and I am sure that it helped me a lot to learn a lot within a very short period of time. When I see that something is done by the Smashing Team, I always wished to be part of it, without questioning; because I have faith on them, with all the good experience I have about the Smashing Magazine. Just like I visit Smashing Magazine every day; I kept purchasing all of their printed books and some eBooks—and of course they helped me a lot in improving my skills and the way I see things, which made me doing business with my clients(bosses & people in other departments of our bank) with lesser conflicts and in a much effective manner (benefiting me and the business of the client).

    So I truly believe that this must be such a wonderful event/moment of someone’s life, which everyone is not fortunate enough to experience ever. More than being just another technical conference, I see in these pictures this to be kind of a holiday/vacation event which keeps people relaxed and happy. Therefore, I really wish to visit next Smashing Conference.


  9. 9

    Waiting for the video.. :)

  10. 10

    You guys better come to the states soon…

  11. 11

    Margaret Sharon Olscamp

    September 20, 2012 2:46 pm

    Love your site! The beautiful joy in all those smiling faces makes me feel great. Happy International Peace day September 21.


  12. 12

    wish i was there man..


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