Report Back from Adobe MAX — 2021

Our team shares highlights from last week’s virtual conference, October 26-28, 2021

Inspiration

Who was an inspiring speaker? Best quotes?

From Addie: “Creativity is a fundamental force.” Laura Jordan Bambach (Session: S189)

“Art is to provide questions, to provoke, to make you think, to make you see something in a different light….Art is supposed to generate conversation.” Lena Waithe (Session: S603)

Iris van Herpen’s collaboration with Adobe was featured in this short video. I’m always amazed at how she incorporates interconnectivity and new tech in her textile work. I highlighted her recent collection, and jaw-dropping film presentation, in July’s Fresh Tech article.

From Kerry: I was moved by Filmmaker Chloe Zhao’s words about how she preserves the flame of personal inspiration in the face of an industry that promotes self-doubt. “That flame is the strongest at the beginning of your career….and I always try to put myself in the situation so I can feel that same burning flame as the beginning of my career, when I made my first film…” (Session: MB133)

Design

Photo by @charlotablunaro UnsplashWhich session was most useful?

From Addie: Alice Lee’s session on The Magic of Learning to Draw brilliantly addressed the most common barriers for adults who want to start drawing. I appreciated how Alice showed her own progression as an artist, from when she started drawing just 8 years ago, to today. Her drawing exercises are on point too. (Session: S402)

From Kerry: Tapping Into the Power of Design Systems with Adobe XD with Zach Perkins + Kristi-Lynn Jacovino. Zach and Kristi collaboratively built an e-commerce site in real-time while narrating the details on how they organize design components. Impressive work! (Session: L542)

New Products & Trends

What trends did you notice? 

From Kerry: Creativity and collaboration were, of course, at the forefront of most presentations. Adobe really highlighted how their cloud-based products can enable real-time collaboration. There was also a big focus on animation, including AI tools that enhance faster animation of images. Adobe Sneaks provided sneak peeks into a wide range of AI-generated techniques now at the forefront of Adobe’s innovative work. NFTs (and the associated conversation around authentication of work) are also huge in the design world right now. Adobe made a major move by announcing that authentication could now be baked into NFT designs created in Photoshop. 

Useful new products mentioned?

From Addie: Adobe Spark now has the capacity to allow designers to create branded templates and share them. Sharing is available to other team members and public partners outside of the organization. This expanded functionality enables team members, and partners who are not designers, to make on-brand graphics and social media posts that are consistent and authentic, without having to learn either design or new software. This could greatly streamline design processes for creating all those social media posts. (Session: S517)

From Kerry: Photoshop and Illustrator coming to web browsers could be a game changer for some. Read the FAQs to learn more about what you can and can’t do with this new flexibility.

Favorite session(s)

From Addie: Art as Activism: How to Create Change from URL to IRL a conversation with Nikkolas Smith and Lena Waithe. I found it particularly interesting and inspiring when the artists were talking about how they welcomed the evolution of their art and how not every new work has to be accepted by the same/established audience. It’s okay for different people to respond and relate to your art in various ways — not everything has to be a “crowd pleaser.” It’s more important to be using your voice and documenting change in individual/creative/new ways. (Session: S603)

From Kerry: How to Properly Break Your Design System by Work & Co Partner Fabricio Teixeira. A big-picture take on the dance between form and function, and how to create and disrupt your own design systems. (Session: S190)

Even though it was more of a promotional piece, I enjoyed getting a peek inside the creative process of the creators of the popular Nerdforge YouTube series.

If you registered for Adobe Max in advance you can watch or rewatch most sessions on-demand for a year. So there’s plenty of time to learn something new and soak up the variety of inspiration therein. 

Editor’s note: This article was created collaboratively by Kerry Abukhalaf and Addie Kugler-Lunt.


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