30 workshops to boost your design skills in 2014

Whether you're a beginner or a pro, you need to be constantly updating your design skills. Here are some of the best events to do so in 2014.

Whether you want improve your design skills or learn something completely different, workshops are a great opportunity to gain some practical experience. There are lots and lots of workshops out there to suit all your tastes whatever area of design you specialize in.

Covering both single workshops and events with multiple workshops, this article only scratches the surface of what's out there - but if you let us know which ones we're missing we promise to keep adding to and updating it throughout the year.

In the meantime, here's a quick round-up, in date order, of some of the best workshops you can get involved with in 2014...

The School of Life: Generating Creativity

  • Date: 8 February
  • Location: London

Alongside its books offering sound life advice, cultural enterprise The School of Life offers a variety of workshops from How To Make Love Last to How to be Cool. Their one-day intensive course on Generating Creativity is a highlight, providing some interesting techniques to help you stimulating your own creativity through tasks, games and challenges. Tickets cost £150.

Type Tasting

  • Date: 8-9 February, 8 March
  • Location: London; Austin, Texas

The organisers behind the Type Tasting workshops have already confirmed two events for 2014. To coincide with the London screenings of the Sign Painters movie, Mike Meyer, one of the film's stars, will hold a two-day sign painting workshop on 8 and 9 February at the Chocolate Factory in London. Tickets costs £295 with more info available here.

And, for those of you based in the US, Type Tasting has announced a global lettering workshop at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas on 8 March, exploring global typography trends found in signage.

Type@Cooper workshops

  • Date: Various
  • Location: New York

The organisers of Type@Cooper, the typeface design programme, are holding a number of free workshops at various locations in New York through the year. Take your pick from chromatic wood type design, printing, and history; designing (and printing) modern letters; sign painting; and brush lettering.

Decoded

  • Date: 10, 11 February (New York), 27 February, 28 March (London)
  • Location: New York, London

Decided offers two different day-long workshops to help boost your understanding of the digital world. Code_in a Day is an eight-hour coding workshop that teaches you how to build a website and app using HTML5/CSS whilst Data_in a Day explores today's data visualisation tools and visualisation strategy.

Meta Refresh

  • Date: 12-15 February
  • Location: Bangalore, India

Meta Refresh is an annual conference on the construction of user interface on the web and mobile. The workshops take place on the first two days of the event and cover topics including 'Responsive Design done right' and 'Embracing Progressive Enhancement'.

UX Riga

  • Date: 20 February
  • Location: Riga, Lativia

UX Riga is created as a practical one-day conference on Usability and User Experience (UX) design - the design approach for making technology user friendly, intuitive and easier to use. Hands-on workshops, keynotes and local case studies will provide inspiration and necessary skills to build your client loyalty by improving their user experience of web and mobile applications, as well as IT systems.

Persuasive Psychology for Interactive Design

  • Date: 26-27 February (Ottowa), 27-28 March (Vancouver), 5-6 May (Waterloo), 2-3 June (Toronto)
  • Location: Canada

This two-day workshop will give you the time you need to learn the science of persuasive design. You'll learn over 50 persuasive design principles, along with popular design recipes and a number of key theories of persuasive technology.

Freelancing in digital design: a beginner's guide

  • Date: 17 February
  • Location: London

Working in web design, UX or a related field? Thinking of striking out alone but lacking the confidence about winning clients, marketing yourself and managing the financials? This Guardian Masterclass provides a realistic overview of the digital freelance market, how to attract and work with clients and take care of your business. Led by Lee Simpson, Senior User Experience Architect at the Guardian, the course workshop takes place on 17 February and costs £39.

An Event Apart

  • Date: Throughout the year, from 17-19 February (Atlanta)
  • Locations: Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, San Diego, Washington DC, Chicago

An Event Apart is an intensely educational two-day learning session for passionate practitioners of standards-based web design. Founded by web visionaries Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman, it features talks and workshops from some of the world's leading web designers today. The first event, in Atlanta, includes a full-day workshop from Luke Wroblewski on 'Mobile Design Now'.

Typoday

  • Date: 28 February-2 March
  • Location: India

This typography event at the Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune over three days. The workshops all take place on day one and are followed by a two-day conference focusing on 'Typography and Culture'.

UX Hong Kong 2013

  • Date: 6-8 March
  • Location: Hong Kong

User Experience Hong Kong (UXHK) is a three-day event dedicated to bringing all product and service design disciplines together, from research and marketing to design, technology and business. Workshops take place on days two and three on subjects ranging from 'The essential element of great design teams' to 'Interaction Design as the Language of Story'.

Mastering CSS

  • Date: 17 March
  • Location: Oxford, UK

Also part of the Smashing Conference, Lea Verou leads this workshop on CSS. Attendees will learn the basics of CSS before exploring how to integrate CSS into your workflow and how to interact CSS with JavaScript - all with easy to understand examples. A ticket for the workshop costs €349.

MobileTech Conference

  • Date: 17-20 March
  • Location: Munich, Germany

There are more than 60 workshops taking place as part of this German mobile design conference. Subjects covered will include Android, iOS, the Responsive Web, Mobile Business and Marketing.

Camp Digital

  • Date: 26-27 March
  • Location: Manchester, UK

This two-day event in Manchester is a mixture of talks and workshops focusing on user experience, inclusive design, user insight, mobility and customer experience. This year's speakers include Ria Sheppard from Ebay, the BBC's Scott Byrne-Fraser and UX trainer Colman Walsh; tickets start from £80.

UX Salon

  • Date: 6-7 April
  • Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

UX Salon is a group dedicated to the professional practice and learning of user experience design. Workshops on Emotional Design and Service Design take place on the 7 April.

Future of Web Design

  • Date: 7 April
  • Location: London

This long-established web design conference is returning to The Brewary in East London for three days of talks and workshops. Day one, Monday, is when the workshops happen, with industry professionals such as Rachel Nabors and Jason Pamental covering CSS3, responsive design and interactive design in 2014. A workshop-only pass costs £325 for the day, and increases to £695 if you want to add on a two-day conference pass.

Alan Kitching's Typography workshops

  • Date: 18-19 April, 30-31 May, 27-28 June
  • Location: London

Typographer, designer and letterpress practitioner Alan Kitching is holding a number of two-day workshops on the fundamentals and details of typography. Taking place at his studio in Kenninngton, the course costs £900 and includes lunch and all materials.

ThingsCon: The future of hardware

  • Date: 2-3 May
  • Location: Berlin

In talks, workshops and intimate sessions, an international line-up of top notch speakers will cover everything it takes to grow a hardware product from prototype to scaling business - and help participants build the companies of tomorrow.

Pick Me Up

  • Date: 23 April, 5 May
  • Location: London

Pick Me Up, the annual design and illustration festival at Somerset House, is always hugely popular and includes a mixture of workshops, events and forums. Last year's workshops covered letterpress with Alan Kitching, an opportunity to try model making with Aardman, and a felt toy craft session with Felt Mistress.

Industryconf

  • Date: 23 April
  • Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Industryconf returns with four full days of workshops that focus on UX, the command line, HTML5 and digital product design. Led by industry professionals Rian van der Merwe, Harry Roberts, John Allsopp and Christopher Murphy respectively, tickets cost £249 for each workshop.

Port80

  • Date: 16 May
  • Location: Newport, Wales

Welsh web conference Port80 is back for its third year, showcasing a list of speakers including web designer Dan Donald, designer and developer Nathan Ford and UX analyst Louise Tierney. Last year, Port80 ran three workshops before the main event on practical website speed, beginners Javascript and advanced Jaavscript, and it's likely that they'll do the same this year so keep an eye on the website.

Software design and development

  • Date: 19-23 May
  • Location: London

This five-day conference for developers, taking place at the Barbican, has two days dedicated to workshops covering JavaScript development, UX design for developers and design patterns and testing. A one-day workshop costs £360+VAT with the price increasing for extra days.

UX London

  • Date: 28-30 May
  • Location: London

Aimed at the user experience community, the long-unning conference and highly regarded conference UX London features three days of inspiring talks and workshops on "products, people and platforms". Workshops include everything from 'Drawing Ideas: Enhance your creative process with quick sketching and visual storytelling' to 'The Information Architecture of Products'.

UXLX

  • Date: 4-6 June
  • Location: Lisbon, Portugal

UXLX is where "user experience pros come to learn". Come to sunny Lisbon for 16 hands-on workshops to hone up your skills and 10 inspiring talks from thought leaders in the field.

Kerning

  • Date: 5-6 June
  • Location: Italy

Kerning is the first international conference in Italy dedicated solely to typography and web typography. It features a day of workshops on the first day followed by a conference day full of talks.

Ready to Inspire

  • Date: 10-12 June
  • Location: Leiden, Netherlands

Ready to Inspire is a well crafted conference about web design, type and code. The workshops take place on the first day, from 9.30 to 5pm.

Generate New York

We can't wait to see you in the Big Apple!
  • Date: 20 June
  • Location: New York

This year, we're excited to be hosting our very first event in the States! Organised in conjunction with net magazine, this web design conference features a truly stellar lineup of speakers, including the likes of Ethan Marcotte, Karen McGrane and Brendan Dawes, and there'll be some great workshops too - full details at the event website.

TypeCon

  • Date: 30 July-3 August
  • Location: Washington DC

TypeCon is an annual conference presented by the non-profit Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA), an international organization dedicated to the promotion, study, and support of typography and related arts. TypeCon2014 will once again offer unique design and typography workshops outside of the main conference program.

dConstruct

  • Date: September
  • Location: Brighton, UK

Web design conference dConstruct takes place on the first Friday of September every year in the Brighton Dome and each year focuses on a different theme: 2012 focused on 'playing with the future' whilst 2013 was all about 'communicating with machines'. The event is always preceded by two days of workshops with this year's workshops costing £395+VAT. The 2014 website isn't live yet but you can check out the website for last year's event here.

London Design Festival

  • Date: 13-21 September
  • Location: London, UK

London Design Festival features hundreds of exhibitions, talks, seminars and workshops that take place across the capital, with last year's list including a human-centred design workshop from PPD, as well as bag making and furniture revival. Whilst the organisers have confirmed the date for this year's events, details of 2014's workshops are due to be released in May, so keep your eyes peeled!

Words: Natalie Brandweiner

Which events should we add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!

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