Submit Saturdays: Thanks Adobe finds inspiration in failure
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By day, San Francisco-based Jessica Miller is a graphic designer. By night, she’s a purveyor of the glitch, collecting the often-beautiful errors that computers have a habit of spewing out, and stashing them away magpie-like on a dedicated website. The site, named Thanks Adobe, is a love-letter to mistakes, showing that when computers crash, they don’t only cause frustration, but sometimes something rather artistic. We had a chat with her to find out what it’s all about.
How did Thanks Adobe come about?
Working in the studio Photoshop would occasionally crash or someone’s laptop would freeze, and whenever that would happen my partner Patrick Alfred and I would joke around and say, “Thanks Adobe,” riffing off the internet meme Thanks Obama, which is just as ridiculous. Eventually we started collecting screenshots of the amazing things our computers created on their own and thought it would be good to publish our collection and ask for others to contribute as well.
What appeals to you about these error, glitchy images?
When your computer freaks out and creates an amazing and psychedelic glitch image it reveals the inner workings of its nature – it’s a visual manifestation of a failed digital process. Oftentimes the glitch art is much more fun and creative than whatever client project I’m working on, so it’s like a brief interlude of artistic rebellion on the part of the computer. It’s like a binary smoke break.
How, if at all, do the images from Thanks Adobe impact on other work you make?
The randomness is super inspiring! The colors are often unexpected combinations and they make great texture backgrounds as well.
Why did you choose that particular site design and typeface for the project?
I chose the parallax template so that the images would get layered on top of one another even further, that way the structure of the site mirrors its content. I picked Futura to reference the geometric text commonly used over Internet memes, but with a bit more of a designer aesthetic.
How many submissions do you usually get, and how do you select which ones to feature?
About a third of the screenshots on the site are submissions, but hopefully we’ll get more after this article comes out! It just needs to be an authentic screenshot of a computer freakout taken while working. A great glitched image is one that creates beauty from pixelation.
What’s next for Thanks Adobe?
Probably coming up with another name after we get the cease and desist letter from Adobe legal. Just kidding!
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About the Author
Emily joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in the summer of 2014 after four years at Design Week. She is particularly interested in graphic design, branding and music. After working It's Nice That as both Online Editor and Deputy Editor, Emily left the company in 2016.