October gave rise to WordCamp Manchester, and everyone had a fun time. If you have never been to a WordCamp, there is something for everyone in the WordPress community, whether a designer, a developer or a website owner. It turned out to be a great weekend put together by the WordPress Community.
There were many fantastic speakers full of knowledge and expertise, and there was something to learn from everyone. Except for the lightning talks, all talks were recorded and will be on WordPress TV.
I've been involved in the WordCamp Manchester team since 2014. It's a great community and a worthy cause to volunteer for if you are interested in the web and the tech sector.
The fifth continuous year of WordCamp Manchester (WCMcr) took place in October. We were all involved in one way or another with this epic event. (Yeah, I am calling it Epic, no bias on my part as the lead organiser at all, honest). Andi contributed her classic retro pop art and brought her arty skills to everything from the posters to delegate badges. She also managed a revamp of the traditional unofficial mascot of any WordCamp, the Wapuu.
If you want to see more design, look at the WordCamp Manchester Design post.
Ben attended as a delegate and participated in several of the talks. Even family members got in on the act as Andi's husband, Matt Wilkinson, was WordCamp's official photographer.
14 scheduled speakers and another 8 speakers did 10-minute lightning talks on a mixture of subjects. These will all soon be available on the WordPress.tv channel.
WordCamp Manchester has fondly become known as FoodCamp to those in the know. Lunch often leaves members of the camp overly whole for the afternoon session. The volunteer teamwork behind the screens makes everything appear like it's flowing smoothly and keeps everything on track. Without the volunteer team, WordCamps would not be possible.
There were plenty of networking opportunities to be had during the event. The breakout sponsorship atrium and the most popular after-party in the MMU Student Union building. Here's a group shot, including me, although I started on the 1st of November.
The last part of WordCamp took place on Sunday at Ziferblat in the heart of Manchester's Northern Quarter. Mike Little, the co-founder of WordPress, ran a contributor day for around 30 people. A contributor day enables people to give back to WordPress, which is, after all, an open-source project. You don't need to be a coder to attend this part of the event. There are many valuable ways to contribute to WordPress.
All in all, the WordCamp was a great event with plenty going on. There were over 20 sponsors represented, 22 speakers, including the lightning talks and around 170 people in attendance. I shall look forward to next year's offering.
Early in the morning, I headed to the University of Manchester for my shift. I spent all day helping on the information desk, swiping loads of WordPress #Swag and telling everyone about my Manchester Wapuu.
Factory is proud to be a micro sponsor of WordCamp Manchester, but amongst the more prominent sponsors, we met representatives from Automattic, 34SP, Jetpack, WooCommerce, Bytemark and more.
There was a host of talks on various WordPress and web-related topics. Sadly, I didn't really get to listen in much as I was at the volunteer desk. I was convinced, however, to give a lightning talk by Claire Worthington.
Every business, including ours, has faced demanding clients from time to time and had to part ways, so I did my talk around the top ten signs to look out for when qualifying for a new prospect.
It's sound business advice to qualify your customers and save any service-based industry a lot of hassle down the line. Likewise, it's also vital to ensure your agency is a match for you. So this is what I based my lightning talk on. It was met with applause, so I was happy and stepped down, palpitating wildly.
The WordPress Community is a fantastic group of people, and I have made many friends there.
This year I led the design team for the 2018 Manchester Event. After the 2017 Event, I sat down with this year's Lead Organiser, Hugo Finley, in Mackie Mayor & we started to thrash out ideas for the design.
This year, WordPress turned 15, so I decided to give this year's design a theme celebrating Retro tech. Sure, being a woman of a certain age means I recall things like Pac Man, the Sony Walkman, Ataris, etc. Let's face it, we are looking at 30 years more than 15, but when it comes to colourful graphics, no one is counting. It was all in the spirit of cool old stuff that made us feel warm and fuzzy. I wanted to somehow combine this idea with an overall 'pop art' look.
I created the design with a series of hand-drawn doodles. I doodled from a quick brain dump of any old gadgets I could imagine. This year I put my hands on a new piece of tech, the iPad Pro and Apple pencil. So I used the fabulous new pro-create app to create the little doodles for the final design.
Next, I had to tie the design together. I chose bright blue, red and black with a halftone screen effect to create the pop art look and feel. The result was the ensuing colourful design you see here. I paired the graphics with the gorgeous BARO typeface, a multi-layered font that allows you to create unique and stylistic lettering.
Manchester's' cute little bumble bee wapuu, which I created a few years earlier, has become one of the more popular wapuus of the world. He was given a pop-art makeover for this year to match the brand, making the whole event bright and colourful.
Being part of a WordCamp is a way to give back to the open-source community and a great way to have your artwork seen by a worldwide audience. I'm proud to be a part of it and grateful for acknowledging my skills. I will head up London's Design Team this year, so watch this space!
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