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Flash on the Beach

This post first appeared on the LINE blog on September 19th 2011.

With summer drawing to a close, we sent representatives from our visual design and development teams to attend the three day ‘Flash on the Beach’ conference in Brighton. LINE interviewed Paul Thorpe, Head of Visual Design, to see what he got up to.

LINE: What did you get up to last week?
Paul Thorpe: Why, thank you for asking. I attended ‘Flash On The Beach’ in Brighton along with Leandro Barreto (Senior Developer) and Jon Fagence (Senior Designer/Developer and Design Team Lead) on behalf of LINE.

It’s a three day conference for designers, developers and artists that are involved in creative digital media. The schedule features big-name industry speakers from around the world. They represent a range of disciplines from interface designers, digital artists, typographers, animators, application developers… the list goes on. They each employ their own unique presentation style to inspire, teach, entertain, demonstrate and experiment with an audience of hundreds in a series of one hour bursts. Three of these talks happen every hour and you decide which to attend based on the speaker and summary of the content. So in the space of three days we each managed to attend 21 of these sessions – very intense and exhausting, I can tell you, but equally enjoyable.

flash on the beach

L: It calls itself Flash on the Beach. That’s an interesting name. Was it just Flash that you were doing on the beach?

PT: The name is probably a little misleading. The event is sponsored and supported by Adobe and in previous years the conference was mainly focused on users of Adobe Flash, which for many years has been the industry-leading authoring environment for producing interactive content. But actually on this occasion there was very little mention of Flash – and it was way too chilly to do anything on the beach!

L: What was the best thing you learned that you didn’t know before?

PT: The overarching message that I think we all took from the conference is that the space Flash once occupied in the market has been somewhat overtaken by HTML5. This is mostly due to a need to cater for the wide and varied range of mobile devices available and in particular Apple iOS devices that do not support Flash content. This isn’t news to us as such but any ambiguity was decisively cleared up at FOTB.

However, Flash is not ‘dead’ by any means and should (and will) still be seen by those in the industry as a powerful tool for developing very rich interactive experiences including those native apps for Apple iOS and Android devices that we have all become familiar with.

L: How will LINE’s clients be seeing the benefits of what you learned?

PT: I think what was most important is the big ball of inspiration that we brought home! It was truly awe-inspiring to see the results that are being achieved in the wider creative community and made us more determined to be right there at the bleeding edge doing more of the amazing things that we do at LINE. This will without doubt compliment and influence our existing creative processes going forward.

I personally picked up many great and practical tips about ideas generation, wire-framing, experimenting, mobile interface design, using webfonts, choosing colour palettes and digital art to name a few. I also decided to take advice never to throw any ideas away – just put them on a shelf for later.


Jared Ficklin, Principal Technologist at Frog in Austin, Texas

L: So this is an exciting event offering many creative ideas, how will this help in transforming business through learning innovation in the future?

PT: Designing for mobile and desktop presents many opportunities and challenges – not least selecting the right technology and design for the device. The expectations we have of HTML5 is that it is a level playing field for devices and at last brings efficiency through resolution-based design. Reducing the need to accommodate and tune to the requirements of each different platform offers a great cost saving to all.

L: And your final thoughts?

PT: “Inspiration hits you when you’re distracted. When you try to think of a good idea, it’s difficult.” – Jon Burgerman. (Check out – I seriously love this man’s work).