Insights from Adobe MAX 2014

Article authored by Kristopher Hughes, Art Director


Topics: Creative Design

Adobe MAX is one of the most well attended creative conferences held, and it’s not hard to see why. There are hundreds of classes geared toward designers, photographers, videographers, and developers, all of whom are gathered together with a single purpose—to create. There are several large sessions where attendees can listen to and be inspired by leaders in the creative industry, as well as hear about the new products and tools coming from Adobe.

During the general session on day two, “Community Inspires Creativity,” we had the opportunity to hear from Jason Seiler, a digital illustrator; Lee Hirsch, a documentary filmmaker; Ami Vitale, a photographer; and the surprisingly down-to-earth musician, Weird Al Yankovic.

I really enjoyed listening to Ami Vitale as she shared her many experiences and path to success. She further confirmed a common theme that I observed throughout the entire conference: everyone who seemed to reach the top of their industry did not care to do so, or rather did not focus on doing so. They found what they were absolutely passionate about and did it to the best of their ability. Their success is a byproduct of their passion.

I got the same impression from Weird Al Yankovic. He was what many of us often wish we were: just like a kid—creating from imagination and loving every minute of it.

During a smaller and more intimate session, I heard from Jen Adrion and Omar Noory from These Are Things, which is an illustrative and paper goods studio. These folks are the masters of finding out what they love to do and figuring out ways to make a profit from it.

Another interesting session was the “Sneaks” general session where Adobe demos new features and products currently in development. It was great to see the tools they had in progress. From products that allow easier design on mobile devices, to a haze removal tool for Photoshop, it will be exciting to see what Adobe features will roll out in the coming year.

Some of my favorite classes were specific to the type of work I do here at Axis41, such as creating scalable mobile designs, infographic design, and typography. I also took a few classes that were related to my hobbies, such as “Creating Amazing Time-lapse Videos with Photoshop” and “Getting It Done in Lightroom.”

I was excited to see how improvements in web development tools are changing the way web and mobile design are implemented. For example, did you know it’s possible to copy a vector shape in Illustrator and then paste it into Adobe Dreamweaver or Muse—and generate the code for that vector shape? It’s incredible to think how far we’ve come in the last ten years. I am really looking forward to what transpires in the next ten.

My favorite moments, however, were the ones that inspired personal innovation. Whether it was parodies of pop music, traveling the world for unique and intimate stories, or quitting their day jobs to focus on poster design, all of these artists—Weird Al, Ami Vitale, the These Are Things founders—found the courage to take a leap of faith and pursue their passions. I believe a large portion of people fail to take that leap because they are afraid of failing. But in every success story there is failure. We need to take stock in the fact that we’re always moving forward, even if we fail sometimes.