Five things we learned at the Adobe Max conference

23 October 2017

Adobe Max is an in-your-face, larger-than-life, all-guns-blazing annual celebration of creativity, which this year descended on Vegas. It’s Nice That was invited by Adobe, with over 12,000 other creative minds from all over the world, for a few days packed full of talks, product updates and inspiration. The scale was nothing short of amazing, but from the days spent pounding the corridors of the Venetian Hotel, a few things really hit home:

Technology is accelerating creativity
Kicking off the event was an impressive keynote from the Adobe team and the amount of new product updates was staggering. First and foremost, they launched four brand new apps into their cloud ecosystem including the impressive and intuitive XD, a new app for designing and prototyping mobile apps and websites. The growing importance of UX design in the industry cannot be understated and it felt like this could become as widely used as a Photoshop or Indesign over the next few years.

Adobe also announced improvements in its current products including increasing the power of Stock, Typekit and Live platforms, showing its continued dedication to making the transition between each app in Creative Cloud as seamless as possible.

Great relationships breed amazing work
One of the most moving talks of the conference was from ex-White House photographer Pete Souza. Having cut his teeth assisting another photographer during the Regan presidency, Pete started photographing Barack Obama from before he was president, right through to his final day in office. His conversation with magazine 99U uncovered beautifully told stories behind both iconic moments and more mundane, everyday interactions. What was most apparent though, was that his incredible body of work was made possible by the trusting relationship he forged with the commander in chief. Because of this dynamic, Pete was present at all the most important moments in the President’s life, from photographing his kids’ school play, to capturing the moment the Osama Bin Laden raid was completed.

All in all, you’d be hard pressed to deny that the photographer has fulfilled his ambition of creating “the best archive of a President there has ever been”, and you can make up your own mind when his book is published in a couple of weeks.

Creativity can create change
Many of the talks It’s Nice That attended waxed lyrical about how creativity and design can create great change, but none followed through on the claim more convincingly than Annie Griffiths, one of the first female photographers to work for National Geographic. Annie took the stage and told us about her career and how it has led her to start Ripple Effect Images, a collective of photographers who document the programmes that are empowering women and girls throughout the developing world. She spoke about this incredible organisation that has bought about huge change for women and girls, and delivered it with the warmth and poise you would expect from someone behind such a brilliant idea. “A woman in my situation should just get some cats and a vibrator and call it a day… I got into aid work,” she said.

Kindness + Empathy = Loyalty
After so many insights into mind-expanding new technologies, it was a joy to hear Tina Roth Eisenberg speak about how important the human aspect of creativity will always be. Her much-loved blog, global talks series Creative Mornings, temporary tattoo business Tattly and anything else she has touched have been built by doing things in an inclusive, generous way –
stating that “generosity is the business strategy of Creative Mornings.” Her warmth came across in a beautifully open talk – and an equation we could all take something from, whether business owners and entrepreneurs like Tina, or freelancers working in isolation: “Kindness + Empathy = Loyalty.”

AI and machine learning is going to be critical in the future of the creative process
The announcements that seemed to generate the most gasps from the auditorium were all around Adobe’s AI and machine learning platform Sensei. The technology is being applied and embedded across the entire Creative Cloud ecosystem allowing everything from better image searching right through to helping designers to complete mundane tasks more quickly and intuitively. The scope of the system is colossal and it feels as though we’re only just starting to see the power AI can bring to the creative process. No matter what your opinion of how creative jobs will be effected as this kind of technology continues to develop, we were left in no doubt that if tools like the ones launched this week can be harnessed in the right ways the future will be incredibly exciting.

You can see all of the updates from Max here and lots of the talks and presentations here.

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Alex Bec

Alex joined as director in 2008 and oversees the commercial side of The HudsonBec Group which includes It's Nice That, Anyways, Lecture in Progress and If You Could Jobs. Contact him to discuss working with us on sponsored content, commercial partnerships, media partnerships and commissioning work.

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