Five stop-and-think creative inspirations from Adobe MAX 2015

| 19 Oct, 2015

Last week Mark Deeprose, Jellyfish’s Chief Creative Officer and I attended the annual Adobe Max conference in Los Angeles – well, someone had to do it! 

Adobe produces the software that our creative teams use every day so it’s the perfect opportunity to get inspired and share the latest innovations and updates with them.

Over 7,000 creative people came together to admire Adobe’s latest innovations. This particular event marked Adobe Photoshop’s 25th birthday (which made me feel pretty old!). Think Apple Keynote with less black turtlenecks and more Photoshop and you’ll get the picture.

Here are my top five takeaways from the conference:

Mark and Rich at the Adobe MAX Conference

1. New Technologies: Adobe Sneak Peeks

Adobe presented sneak previews of exciting new developments and functionality in their software to inspire and to gauge the initial reaction from the world’s creative community!

TV’s ‘Parks and Recreation’ comedy star Nick Offeramn presented alongside Adobe user experience and community leaders.

Here are examples of just three of the eleven Sneak Peeks Adobe may be about to launch in the coming months:

#ProjectFaces enables designers to create a font from scratch simply by moving a few sliders in an application. This, to font enthusiasts, must be like what digital photography means to photographers. It’s really amazing that now anyone can create a bespoke font for their project. I can’t wait to use this.

#3DPortraits goes beyond manually using Photoshop to convert photographs to 3D images. It part-automates the process through facial feature recognition, so you can get usable, printable, 3D images from photos.

#Monument Mode allows you to eliminate moving objects from your photographs using an algorithm. One-click and those obstructions are gone for good.

Read the full list here.

2. Inspirational Speakers to make you stop and think

The conference had some amazing speakers who all brought their creative insight and opinions to us mere mortals. It was really inspiring to see other creatives present their work and most of it was stunning. Here are some of my favorites:

Brandon Stanton - Curator of 'Humans of New York'

Why? This incredible story was of a stock broker turned photographer, who now roams the streets of New York documenting the stories of whoever he bumps into. Amazing insight into how to change your life to do something you really love - and eventually get paid for it!

Baz Lurman - Director of 'Moulin Rouge’ and 'The Great Gatsby’

Why? He is a truly visionary director of some disruptive Hollywood movies, he very much has his own style which can be identified across all of his work. Refers to Photoshop as ‘The digital collage machine’ which made us laugh. 


Adobe MAX creativity

3. Express yourself: Let's talk about type

Lara McCormick, Head of Design Education at CreativeLive encouraged us all to express ourselves more through type.

It was a real call to arms for every designer to experiment more with typography and fonts through an incredible set of type exercises that really got us thinking about where we could take our creative work through experimentation.

It was just like being a college student again – the art of looking sideways but this time with letter forms.

There was stuff like Candy Floss Edible Lettering, the 100 Day Type Challenge and loads of thought-provoking exercises that reignited my love of type and reinforced the universal hatred of the font ‘Impact’!

Do the exercises with Laura here

4. The Path to Performance

Katie Kovalcin a Web Designer at Sparkbox provoked thought around web design for performance and usability.

Performance design should be incorporated into any web build project as every asset that your browser downloads to display the website has a weight to it.

Essentially, most websites could do with losing a few pounds!

She demonstrated that we need to think about what we should display on each web page in the design and development process, for an optimum and fast user experience. Watch Katie’s talk here.

Adobe MAX creativity

5. Client Presentations: Are you guilty?

Mike Monteiro of Mule Design bluntly delved into 13 ways designers screw up client presentations!

Mike hit us between the eyes with a rundown of designer presentation don’ts to help the creative sell-in their work.

Can I see a show of hands for any of the following?

In short they were:

1. Seeing the client as someone they have to please
2. Not getting off your ass
3. Starting with an apology
4. Not setting the stage properly
5. Giving the real estate tour
6. Taking notes
7. Reading a script
8. Getting defensive
9. Mentioning typefaces
10. Talking about how hard you worked
11. Reacting to questions as change requests
12. Not guiding the feedback loop
13. Asking “Do you like it?”

And just in case you were thinking the other half of our trip was all LA parties and hanging out with cool people, guilty as charged!

We had to endure the Adobe Max after-show party with live bands, beer, nitrogen oxide popcorn and a wall of doughnuts…! 

Lots of inspiration for Jellyfish’s annual digital conference here in the UK, Digital Journey’s 2016… watch this space!

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