Creativity In The Spotlight at Adobe Max

Once a year 12,000+ creative minds come together to share, inspire and learn over the course of a 3-day conference called Adobe Max. The result is just as you’d expect, an overflow of creative ideas, heaps of new friends and the yearning to bring what you’ve learned back to your daily routine as a creative.

During the days at Max I sat in various classes, honing-in on previous design skills, learning new programs or listening to other success stories in our industry. It was a whirlwind (as most big conferences bursting with creativity and innovation are), but I was definitely able to take away some valuable insights from my three days in Vegas. Here are a few of them.

1. Customization was a consistent theme.

Projection mapping on your face is spooky.

In between keynote sessions and classes I tried to spend as much time as possible in the Community Pavilion, basically a tradeshow for creatives that showcases new products, innovations and fun hands-on activities. The main theme and takeaway from this year’s Community Pavilion was customization. Everyone wants their work to feel unique and many of the vendors on-site gave creatives just that. Whether it was designing your own Coke label, engraving a playing card, screen printing a t-shirt, giving yourself a beard, taking a photo with a floor graphic or even adding animations to your face, each customization gave creatives their own shareable moment that was unique to everyone else’s.

The most inspiring activation, to me, within the pavilion was presented by Adobe Stock. Guests could step inside a dark booth and have animated videos projection mapped to their face. The one minute loop that was created was shared with the guests and was easy to upload to social media platforms.

On-site screen printing was also huge this year. One brand allowed guests to screen print underwear with a clever statement poking fun at creative “briefs”. Another allowed guest to choose from various templates to screen print a one-of-a-kind t-shirt.

Another booth allowed guests to test their skills on pen tablets and then see their creation engraved on a piece of wood in mere seconds.

2. Creativity is a force for good.

The second day of the conference begun with keynote speakers such as Jonathan Adler, Annie Griffith, Mark Ronson and Jon Favreau. They spoke about how they’ve used their creativity to positively affect their work and other’s lives. Annie Griffith was the most inspiring to me as she shared stories of her photography career working for National Geographic and her own company, Ripple Effect Images. Her impact that she’s had on communities throughout the world through photography is moving and left everyone feeling the love.

Since our company is in the event world, I was especially interested in the stage design and the screen set-up that they used during each keynote session. The room had to accommodate 12,000+ attendees, while allowing everyone a good view. Seamless screens spanning the entire room gave the audience views of the speaker with vibrant graphics that supported the content. The graphics were full of energy bringing a sense of excitement to the room.

Double the exposure, double the fun

3. Amazing technology is expanding the limits of what creatives can do.

The final keynote presentation, called “Sneaks”, was presented by various Adobe employees eager to share the newest products they are working on. Creatives watched in awe as old black and white photos were transformed into color. #ProjectDeepFill uses Photoshop and Adobe Stock wizardry to replace chunks of photos with new surroundings. Another program, geared towards the video gurus in the crowd, makes editing out frames easier than ever. I can’t wait to see what is brought to life based on the exciting sneaks shared this year.

This is my second year going to this event, and I have left each year feeling inspired and ready to bring my new skills, discoveries and insights into my work. The talent of the conference that surrounds you brings forth an energy unlike any other conference I’ve been to.

Beth Tietz is a Senior Art Director at IMG LIVE.