Building a Community of Web Designers and Developers in Chattanooga

I love Chattanooga. As a cyclist and a runner, I love that the city has plenty of trails and beautiful scenery that make my hobbies even more enjoyable, and as a developer, I love that it has such a diverse community of programmers and designers. The fact that these talented professionals are coming together across agencies and disciplines to share ideas and knowledge makes me love the city even more.

In recent months, Chattanooga has hosted an increasing number of events aimed at building a community around its web designers and developers. Development can be a solitary task, and I’m so excited to see my city encouraging a dialog between members of various web professions. Two events in particular, Code and Creativity and TopCon, have jumpstarted this movement by bringing world-class speakers to the Scenic City.

Code and Creativity

Aimed at developers and web designers in Chattanooga but open to anyone with an interest in these fields, Code and Creativity is a series of talks held every other month at the Camp House on the Southside. Earlier this month, some members of the Papercut team and I went to hear Jenn Lukas, a Philadelphia-based frontend developer, and Daniel Ryan, the head of frontend development for the 2012 Obama campaign, speak. Lukas talked about using CSS transitions, and Ryan talked about the importance of frontend user experience and best practices used during the presidential campaign. We all learned a lot at this event, and it was great to see some familiar and not-so-familiar faces from agencies around the city. We’re all excited to find out who the guest speakers are for the next event.


An upcoming event that has caught our eye is TopCon, a conference aimed at keeping design professionals in Chattanooga and attracting even more talent to grow the local community of creatives. Scheduled for November 9, the conference will feature Aaron Draplin, owner of Draplin Design Company in Bend, Oregon, Lydia Nichols, a designer for Pixar and Chronicle Books, and Aaron Robbs, a native Chattanoogan who now lives in New York City and works for Kickstarter. Each speaker will focus on the importance of design communities and share ideas about how Chattanooga can keep its local talent. The event has already piqued the interest of our art director, and I’m sure a few more of us will tag along as well.

What’s Next?

This is just the beginning of an exciting trend in Chattanooga. I’m hopeful that these events will continue and that we’ll see even more like them in the next year. If you’re a local web designer or developer headed to one of these events, or if you know of another one we should check out, get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter (@PAPERCUTsays) and let us know. We’ll be there, and we’d love to say hello!