Recap from SND St. Louis

By Tito Bottitta October 2, 2011

We just settled back in at Jared’s childhood home after an awesome day at the Society for News Design conference in St. Louis. Mike and I were on stage today talking about “Finding the Web Designer Within.” (Any similarity to Tobias Fünke’s best-seller “The Man Inside Me” completely coincidental).

We talked about our career path, which began 10 years ago in newspaper design and evolved into the web design studio Upstatement. All of our work is steeped in the lessons we learned at SND and working at papers like The Boston Globe, New York Times, San Jose Mercury News (and many others).

In making the transition online, we realized that news design and web design really aren’t so different. In fact, the web would be a better place if more news designers jumped the fence and brought their unique skills to the medium. To get over the hump, though, the traditional news designer has some things to learn from the web.

To show how far the web has come in supporting good design — and to reinforce our point about the importance of designing in the browser — we created the entire presentation as one giant, scrolling web page. We’ve been wanting to ditch the Powerpoint/Keynote model for a long time, and it was really liberating (not to mention fun) working with the web instead of clunky presentational software. You can check out the deck here: www.upstatement.com/sndstl (Beware! The page is pretty heavy and optimized only for Webkit browsers like Chrome and Safari, results in other browsers may vary).

Big thanks to everyone who came out to the talk and to Will Sullivan, old friend Steve Dorsey, and SND for inviting us to St. Louis. We all learned tons from the organization during our college years when we helped out at the annual contest (judged in sunny Syracuse during the dead of winter) and traveled to countless conferences in all over the country (actually, we just counted — this is our seventh after Phoenix, D.C., San Jose, Houston, Boston, and Las Vegas).

Lastly, a couple quick shout outs from a busy weekend …

  • Endless thanks to Jared’s folks, Susan and Steve Novack, who have lavished us with the best hospitality (and blonde brownies) in the midwest
  • High fives to Miranda Mulligan and Mat Marquis (may the tri-force be with you), who kicked off Saturday’s session with an awesome crash course on responsive design and look behind The Boston Globe’s new responsive website.
  • Thanks to Sam Berlow, honey badger enthusiast and neighbor from Font Bureau, who provided some crucial feedback in the green room and helmed an entertaining (and educational!) session on web typography (not to mention WebType)
  • Josh Clark— great to meet you and thanks for the delicious detour to Pappy’s BBQ. That lunch was so good it threatened to cancel our presentation.
  • And hello-goodybe to Kuan Luo, our cool-as-hell fellow Daily Orange alum and designer in NYC

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