Beyond tellerrand 2017 in Dusseldorf

by Hrvoje Tomić -
beyond tellerrand 2017 Dusseldorf

“Be creative, no creativity is a waste,” said Chris Heilmann on the first day of beyond tellerrand conference in Dusseldorf. Well, at this gathering of all kinds of creative people from digital industry, it sounded like home.

The conference was held in a beautifully designed interior of the Capitol Theater. You know, big mirrors, tall ceiling, fancy lights, gothic chandeliers, and lots of creative mojo.

BTW, each talk was presented with its own movie like a placard, how cool is that!


beyond tellerrand in Dusseldorf had 13 speakers giving their talks over a course of two days. All talks were filmed and most of them were available on the web within 24 hours. Wi-fi was decent and it worked well which is quite an achievement since there were around 400+ people connected with various devices all the time. Way to go organizers!

While there was no organized lunch at the and of the first day, there was a free drinks evening for everyone, with a candy stand as well.

beyond tellerrand 2017 Dusseldorf passes
beyond tellerrand 2017 Dusseldorf passes

Day 1

The line-up was excellent and there were plenty of good talks. I tweeted some of the things that caught my attention at the moment and will now present my impressions of what was best in the lectures.

Chris Heilmann opened the conference with an interesting talk in which he elaborated on how we should celebrate the successes and the tools that are at our disposal and try to stop solving problems that are beyond our control.

Sharon Steed explored the impact of empathy in building relationships (personal and professional). Jin Anne of Salesforce shared her own insights on designing systems and made it clear that design systems are actually an investment while Phil Hawksworth pointed out that in the web development complexity can be a barrier while simplicity can be an enabler.

Nadieh Bremer presented several really complex data visualization projects and discussed different approaches to visualization of a vast amount of data.

Seb Lester’s talk on typography, calligraphy, and how to design a logo which will be printed on a spaceship followed by his incredible calligraphy videos was outstanding. Yes, this exceptional artist designed a logo for one of NASA’s missions and is a master calligrapher. If you guys somehow missed Seb’s work, you should definitely take a look.

Master calligraper Seb Lester
Master calligrapher Seb Lester showing the logo he created for the BMX bike company

The award-winning Illustrator Yuko Shimizu closed the day with her inspiring lecture on how to learn from your own mistakes (or hers) and how to find the right balance in communication with a client. In a witty manner, Yuko presented some of her impressive work and showcased a process which starts with an idea and finishes with a final product.

Yuko Shimizu
Yuko Shimizu giving advice on free work

Day 2

The second-day talks started with Espen Brunborg who held a funny and yet very illuminating lecture on how to combine the seemingly opposite trends in order to create something that is professional, but also different. An excellent talk and a great showman!

Jeremy Keith elaborated on how to evaluate the available technology and how to choose what would be the best choice for our needs and Patty Toland of Filament group talked about the impacts of web performance.

Sarah Drasner gave great insight into the world of animating SVG with JavaScript while Mario Klingemann showed the impressive power of neural networks in the field of image analysis and generative art.

David Bowie’s favorite designer in last 15 years, Jonathan Barnbrook, closed the conference with illustrating how often what you want is not really what you need.


Two years ago I attended an excellent Kerning conference in Italy. It was much more focused on one field, typography, resulting in sharing more specific details and ideas. beyond tellerrand was altogether a different story but in a positive sense. When you put together a bunch of creative people from different areas you usually get a number of outstanding guidelines that can be applied almost anywhere. A great conference to attend!


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