Nov 30 Takeaways from this Year’s Biggest Creativity Conference
With over 12,000 attendees, this year’s Adobe Max Conference was the biggest ever. As part of their professional development sponsored by Rêve, Associate Director of Visual Strategy Carter Romo and Visual Strategist Joe Kane went to Las Vegas to immerse themselves in three days of creative exploration and the latest in graphic, web, and UX design.
Adobe Max boasted a jam-packed program for three full days. That’s a lot of content. Could you share something with us that stood out for you?
CR: I was pleasantly surprised by how human-centered Adobe is in their approach to the tools that they create, and also how they are applying artificial intelligence in a very meaningful way. I was blown away by their demo of Adobe Sensei. That’s their AI solution that will power the entire Adobe Suite to help businesses work smarter and faster. In a design context, it’s like Siri or Alexa for the creative. They demoed it in Photoshop, and one of the coolest things was that it mapped all your decisions and all the other possible choices that you could have made in a decision tree. And you could go back and easily see what your work would look like had you gone with any of the other choices.
Cool! How do you think this might impact your work here at Rêve?
JK: It’ll allow for more exploration. When we develop a prototype, we generate a lot of ideas upfront and then narrow it down to one. Soon, we can go back and adjust a couple of different elements, and create many more prototypes to test. We’ll gain some efficiency and open up more cognitive space.
What inspired you at the conference on a personal level?
CR: There were these really advanced tech moments with Sensei, but then almost all of the presenters were either hands-on makers, or they talked about how they leveraged hands-on making for their digital work. So there was this incredible juxtaposition between the analog and the highly technical, and I realized that they are not mutually exclusive, but they continuously reinforce each other. My view of technology has changed because I saw so many talented people still doing hands-on work but allowing tech to be the delivery mechanism.
Joe, how about you?
JK: I enjoyed listening to established designers speak about their journeys and their processes. There was a message that was repeated throughout the conference: Design for yourself. One of the people who talked about this most emphatically was James Victore, an art director who had work displayed at MOMA and who found a niche teaching creativity and personal growth. He summed up the concept of designing for yourself with two hand-written slides. The first read “The things that made you weird as a kid, make you great today,” and the second (a James Joyce quote) read “In the particular lies the universal.” In a design context, these explain the most natural way to grow an audience and get people to relate to your work. It strikes me that even when we are co-creating, or co-designing with our clients, we’re doing some of that. If you think about it, that idea—in the particular lies the universal—also explains why qualitative, ethnographic research is so much more valuable than traditional mass market research which would create this artificial ‘average’ consumer in hopes of reaching universal appeal. This way of doing things did not survive in the age of Amazon and Netflix. Now we create experiences that are built on the needs of real individuals (and people like them), and by doing that we’re getting much closer to meeting everyone’s needs.
That’s Joe, the visual strategist speaking, but it sounds like that talk also left an impression Joe, the artist.
JK: Yes. I now have more confidence in telling my own story with my work. If it is honest and genuine, people like me will relate. Being raised to believe we are beautiful and unique snowflakes blinds us to the fact that there are hundreds, thousands and millions of people out in the world who share similar experiences, values, beliefs, and desires.
When you came back, you were so excited about all the cool tricks and shortcuts you learned. Could you share one with us?
CR: Sure! One of the coolest tricks I learned is how you can duplicate objects into a grid in InDesign. Here’s how to do it: 1) Select an object. 2) Using the Selection tool, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and begin dragging. While still dragging, release the Alt or Option key. 3) Press the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys to change the number of columns. Release the mouse button. You’ve just saved a lot of time!