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Design inspiration from Reasons to be creative

By Luke Moore

A week on from Reasons to be Creative, I’m still feeling pepped up by the whole experience. It was great to head to a creative ‘top up’ with a crew from Omobono and hear from an interesting set of speakers. Having looked at the line up beforehand, I knew there were going to be some intriguing topics touched on.

The stand out speaker for me was Elliot Jay Stocks, Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, who gave us a walkthrough of his career to date. He shared a humorous look back at his beginnings as a web developer (when he only used Flash) and his time spent working for Iron Maiden’s management, again creating websites, but with less Flash this time.

I was fascinated to hear that Elliot founded a typography magazine, 8 Faces, so that he would have something tangible to look back at. He realized more and more that his old websites wouldn’t be around forever. They were updated, rebranded, replaced, or simply gone over the span of time. Elliot wanted to create something in print that he could hold, keep and cherish. Something that would stand the test of time.

You can see from this typography experiment where the path could lead – Elliot recently co-founded a new lifestyle magazine, Lagom, and now holds the Creative Director position at Typekit. But he didn’t set out with that in mind. It seemed to me that his driving forces were pride, passion and the simple desire to have something to show his kids when they grow up: “Look what Dad did when he was your age.”

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I also enjoyed seeing examples of Elliot’s art boards and understanding the theories he applies (the Van de Graaf canon) when working on layouts for the next edition of Lagom. I had already seen the ‘golden ratio’ or ‘divine ratio’ put into practice but it was great to see another approach executed so well. I hope that Lagom goes from strength to strength and becomes a mainstay of the typography world. If you want typography inspiration and the bonus of a great read, I recommend getting a copy of Lagom in your hands.

Another speaker I enjoyed was James Hall, who talked about internet security, and stunned the place into silence. There were a few gasps along the way too. He strolled onto the stage and proceeded to show us all the ease with which he could hack smartphones on a public Wi-Fi connection. Effectively he would connect to the same Wi-Fi spot as you and then get his computer to ‘shout’ that it was the router. Then your smartphone connects to his computer to get access to the web. While doing that James could add bits of data to the packets your phone is receiving and get up to all kinds of mischief. Really eye opening stuff. A touch scary too if I’m honest… and his hacking abilities weren’t just limited to mobile either! My top tip for using your mobile to browse the web: don’t do important browsing (such as banking) on public Wi-Fi spots.

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