WordCamp Europe 2017

WordCamp Europe 2017. The largest WordPress conference in the world has officially ended this week. Having been a small part of the organising team, I can now say that I’m both sad and happy that is over.

After I had the pleasure to attend and speak at WordCamp Europe 2016 in Vienna — it was only natural to take a more active role in the community. I applied for the organising team of 2017. edition as soon as the Call for organisers was open. One month later, beginning of August, I was informed that I was selected for the design team — which was the one I applied for. Good news.

Although I have helped organise WordCamps and meetups in the past — being a part of the biggest WordCamp in the world was certainly challenging. I expressed interest in working on the website but having a wider area of expertise in print and branding; I had the pleasure to take on other interesting tasks as well. In the ten months long process of organising WordCamp Europe 2017, and as a part of a multidisciplinary design team consisting of Gemma, Scott, Adrian, Bernhard and directed by Sonja, our team leader — we did so much work.

I’ll just highlight parts of it:

  • WordCamp Europe branding
  • WordCamp Europe website and a style guide
  • CampSite 2017, a new WordCamp base theme
  • Booklets, badges, shirts and a variety of print stuff
  • Stage setup and every little bit of design you could see on the venue

Let me introduce to you, the WCEU Design team! #wceu

A post shared by Sonja (@sonjaleix) on

I’ll probably want to write a specific post about the things I learned and contributed as a result of my involvement, but I’ll wait a little bit until things settle down. Having never been a part of the team working on a conference with over 2.000 attendees it was a valuable experience for me and I learned a lot from my colleagues in the process.

Why Volunteer

Several people asked me what was the motivation for applying to volunteer my time and to be perfectly honest — it was to learn something new and give back to the community at the same time. It was a lot of work, not always easy. Several hours a week doesn’t seem much when everything is going smoothly, but when you are pushing client projects on the side, it can feel exhausting. Although there were weeks where I could barely put in an hour or two — overall I was happy with my contributions to the team. Having said that, I am both happy and sad that is over.

When you are working on something for a longer period, you might end up feeling tired or even exhausted by the project. It certainly feels good to ship something and receive feedback. That is the reason I’m happy that is over. The event was a culmination of everything we did for the past year: visuals, websites, etc. and it was nice to receive in-person feedback from attendees. There are several things left to do in the following weeks, and I’m sure the next year design team will have their hands full as well — but for this point in time — I’m glad to chill out and take a background seat on all the work we did.

WordCamps are great ways to see old friends and meet new ones. That’s why I’m sad it’s over. Two conference days, a contributor day and one awesome after–party simply don’t give you enough time to see everyone you want or see. That’s the benefit of smaller local WordCamps I guess.

From the content aspect of the event, talks were informative and inspiring. Having listened to sessions by John Maeda, Sarah Semark, Michael Arestad or Morten Rand-Hendriksen, to name only a few, really inspired me to dig even deeper, whether the topic was computational design or CSS Grid. Added a few interesting books to the reading list as well.

Looking back, I can say it was definitely worth it. If you liked this post — I would encourage you to join your local community, meetup or WordCamp organisers: as a speaker, organiser or a volunteer. It doesn’t really matter, whatever kind of experience you get from it will make you a better designer, developer, etc. and ultimately — a better person.

See you in Belgrade at WordCamp Europe 2018.