At the beginning of November, a group of Red Hatters from the 9th floor packed our bags and headed to San Diego to attend AdobeMAX 2016. Designers, animators, videographers, event managers, content writers—we each had different agendas, but we had one common goal: to soak up as much information as possible and share it with our individual teams. We are so excited to share our own personal experiences here on the blog!
Matt Morain, Senior copywriter
As a writer at a design conference, I was there to find inspiration for our own Red Hat events. As interesting as tutorials on using the mask tool in Photoshop or 61 colors you may have only dreamed about would’ve been, I focused instead on the attendee experience details. Like this one:
Because the conference was split between two locations, Adobe used this thoroughfare as a marriage of art and minimalism—with a piano open to the public, for good measure. I appreciated the conscious effort to create a calming space as I walked from session to session instead of being bombarded by Adobe promotion. It’s not always possible, but in this case it didn’t go unnoticed.
Michele Reister, Global event marketing manager
The one thing I will never forget from AdobeMax is the keynote presentation by photographer Lynsey Addario. Lynsey is a freelance photojournalist for publications like National Geographic, The New York Times, and TIME, and she shares stories from her travels around the world through her work. She uses photography to shed a light on humanitarian and human rights issues across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. I was absolutely awestruck by her captivating stories and photos of wars and their effects on people. Her courage and bravery to capture and report on these issues is unsurpassed by any fictional superhero. There was hardly a dry eye in the house. I still get chills when I think of her presentation. I encourage you to watch it.
But as an event marketer for Red Hat, the bigger takeaway for me was the wide variety of keynote presentations. In addition to Lynsey, there was a fashion designer, sculpture artist, and filmmaker. Creativity knows no bounds, just like the power of the open source community.
Colleen Shelley, Senior graphic designer
My favorite session was “Adventures in Experiential Design,” and it was presented by Jessi Arrington—co-founder of Workshop, a small experiential design studio based in Brooklyn, NY.
The session was all about experiential design—not to be confused with EXPERIENCE (UX) design—which focuses on designing for the physical world, for a set period of time involving active participants. It’s about designing human experiences. These can take the form of conferences, pop-up shops, parties, etc. This session was super important to me because as lead designer for Red Hat’s yearly conference, The Red Hat Summit, I’ve been slowly delving more and more into experiential design each year. As someone who comes from a print and web design background, this has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me, and I know I’ve only scratched the surface of what is possible.
Funny enough, Jessi began her talk by saying that this sub-genre of design is new and not clearly defined. She said it was up to us as pioneers to define the field through trial and error and to teach others what we’ve learned. This made me feel a whole lot better about the tiny strides I’ve made in experiential design thus far, and to feel ok with not knowing everything. Her talk inspired me to keep trying, and to keep learning as I go. And who knows, maybe some of those tiny steps I take will better define experiential design for others, too!
Chelsea Dvorak, Graphic designer
As a graphic designer, AdobeMAX is a dream conference to attend. I was so excited and honored to experience an event where over 10,000 creative minds came together in one place for three days to share, teach, learn, and create. It was overwhelming!
My favorite class was one given by Christine Herrin called, “It’s Not Ready Yet: The Perfectionist’s Struggle in Designing Projects.” I admittedly signed up for the class due to the name, as being a perfectionist is a daily struggle for me, and is, I imagine, for many creative people too. Christine Herrin is part of the Adobe Creative Resident program, but instead of teaching specific skills or tricks in the Adobe world, it was more of inspirational conversation about her artistic journey. She talked about where she started, her ideas, her dreams, and how she failed, which led to her eventually finding success. Her main takeaway was to never let fear determine what becomes a creative project and what doesn’t. It was great to leave the session feeling inspired and refreshed, knowing all the creative ideas in my head are worth exploring.
Stephanie Whedbee, Production graphic designer
AdobeMAX was my first creative conference and wow, I went big! With 10,000+ attendees it was a bit overwhelming at times, but overall, it inspired me and made me feel so grateful to be in a creative career. It was so refreshing to be reminded that I wake up and go to work everyday in a field that I absolutely love. It made me want to be even more creative inside and outside of work, explore more technologies and take advantage of different tools, and just flat out have more fun. Everyone there wore their enthusiasm on their sleeves and it was so infectious!
Laura Walters, Motion graphics designer
I’ve been to a handful of post-production industry events, and AdobeMAX is one of my favorites. There were so many things I took away from the event, but the few that stood out the most are (and bear with these generic words, but they’re true) that the creative industry is changing real fast (and it’s going to be great), and that virtual reality and 360-degree video are going to be an integral part of video work in the near future. The workflow changes that allow for cloud-native teams is something I’ve been looking forward to for years. We’re all collaborating, so get used to it! Let’s all just work on one file together at the same time–like a Google Doc–but with an edit, or a motion design project. That workflow for team projects is now in beta for After Effects and Premiere Pro, and I’m excited to try that out. I really got the sense that 360-video and VR are the next burgeoning fields for video professionals. Even though it was referred to as “still a science project,” it’s not going to be that way in a couple of years. It was super awesome to be able to attend AdobeMAX with so many people from my team. I was grateful to go and it inspired me to think even further into the future ahead.
Thanks so much for reading about our time at AdobeMAX. If you want to hear any more talks from the event’s keynote speakers, please visit here. Also make sure to stay tuned as get ready for our annual event, Red Hat Summit. Updates will be posted here, and at redhat.com/summit.